Homeless coalition wins long campaign for free rides on first day of school

A campaign by advocates for the homeless for the CTA to provide free rides to schoolkids on the first day of school has paid off. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA Board Chairman Terry Petersen announced Saturday that children and parents accompanying them to class on Tuesday could ride free.

Back in July, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Law Project wrote to the CTA asking for free rides. “For nearly a decade, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has tried to convince the Chicago Transit Authority to provide free rides for CPS students’ first day of school—going so far as to coin the yet-to-be-used slogan: “Catch a ride to your future,” reported the Chicago News Coop.

This is the first year the CTA is offering the free rides on the first day of school for Chicago Public Schools. Peterson said about 150,000 children use the CTA each school day. The free rides will cost about $100,000, with seven corporate sponsors paying half, and the CTA picking up the other half.


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  • CTA's in a position to make a charitable donation of $50,000?

    Also, as I mentioned on 500 Words, are a couple of kids going to be riding (now free) from Montrose Brown Line to about 59th and Kenwood?

    Doubt both.

    At least as Chicago Now shows, some of its numerous commenters do need one day of school. Doesn't say how they will get there on Wednesday.

  • Is there any evidence that these types of programs work long term? Back to school fairs, contributions to put forth programs are all well and good but isn't a sad commentary on our society that we have to entice parents to be involved with their kids education? I'm a parent and I'm fortunate to have employers that understand the value of supporting kids that go to school, I know that not all employers are that way but even those that are not, parents still have to 'show up'. I fear for the generation of kids that are used as pawns by their parents and a political system - maybe for a fraction of the money we spend on the city system, we could build a boarding school elsewhere, send kids to an environment that would have to be healthier than where there are now to learn? I have friends in education - their impression is that parent(s) don't want to give up their kids ... so that leaves us in no better shape because parents want their kids close by but are not willing to support them and be involved. I hate to say it but $50K on Tuesday and back to business Wednesday and onwards, gets us nowhere closer to the goal.
    As for Raveswood to Hyde Park, let's not knock what choices people make - they are doing the best they can for their kids - that's the model we should follow as best as we can.

  • Doesn't how many students show up the first day determine how much money CPS gets from the state ?

  • In reply to JamesReyes:

    Not sure about that James. Seems like if that were the case, they might of done this sooner.

  • In reply to JamesReyes:

    It is daily attendance, but we always get the first day push that if you don't show up on the first day, you've started a bad habit.

    However, there is the point fie made.

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