I’m surprised to report that in an election year, the governor and state legislators are seriously considering ending the free transit rides for seniors and other people.
Gov. Pat Quinn said on a WGN radio show, “I don’t think it’ll completely go away, I think it’s going to be reviewed in light of the CTA’s financial crisis.”
Quinn’s change of heart comes on the heels of the CTA announcing last week that free rides would cost the area’s three transit agencies $1 billion by 2030. And a Republican lawmaker said she would introduce legislation to limit free rides to low-income seniors.
That’s all great and makes a lot of sense. But folks, the CTA still has a $173 million hole to fill in its budget. This would help by about $30 million, so there’s still a ways to go. The CTA still needs to talk to its unions and go hat in hand perhaps for a short-term cash infusion.
Still, I think we can expect to see increased fares and some service hours cut, but maybe not as drastic.
More cops on bus routes. After the fatal beating of a Fenger High School student last month, Mayor Daley last week announced that 148 officers and 78 police vehicles would be assigned to key CTA routes and bus stops in an effort to quell the violence.
And Jesse Jackson couldn’t resist the urge for publicity photos by riding a bus from Altgelt Gardens housing project to Fenger. If only he would ride every day, that might really make a difference.