RTA Commends the Illinois General Assembly's Vote to Means Test Seniors Ride Free Program
January 10, 2011
January 10, 2011
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) commends the Illinois General Assembly’s bi-partisan votes to amend the RTA Act allowing low-income seniors, aged 65 or older, to continue riding free on fixed route service operated by the CTA, Metra and Pace. All other seniors would continue riding at half fare. Senate Bill 3778 passed the House yesterday with a vote of 95-15, and it passed the Senate this evening with a vote of 54-2.
“Means-testing the Seniors Ride Free Program is a well balanced solution to reforming the program. Seniors who meet the household income eligibility requirements as stated by the Illinois Department on Aging Circuit Breaker program would be eligible for free rides. Seniors who were not eligible would resume paying half fare as they did before legislation was enacted in 2008,” said John S. Gates, Jr., RTA Board Chairman. “Because this is an especially challenging time financially for our transit system, means-testing would help the RTA manage long-term program costs and contribute to its future financial stability.”
Under the new legislation, seniors living in Illinois who qualify for the Illinois Department on Aging’s Circuit Breaker program would be eligible to use the RTA transit system’s fixed route service for free. All other seniors would resume riding fixed-route services at half fare.
Currently, there are more than 431,000 seniors registered for the Seniors Ride Free program. If the Governor signs the bill into law, the RTA would have up to 180 days to implement the means testing program change.