Senior Ride Free FAQs
February 22, 2011
1) I recently learned that Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation to restrict free rides on transit to low income seniors. What does that mean for me?
Answer: Until further notice, all seniors, ages 65 and over, with a valid RTA Seniors Ride Free Smart Card can still ride all RTA fixed-route services for free. In the coming months, the RTA will be communicating information about how and when the transition will take place.
2) How will legislation change the Seniors Ride Free program?
Answer: New legislation requires all seniors, ages 65 and over, be enrolled in the Illinois Department on Aging’s Circuit Breaker Program to qualify for a ride free permit.
3) How long will it be before the new Seniors Ride Free Program is implemented?
Answer: The RTA has until August 12, 2011 to implement the new program. After the new program becomes effective, seniors who are not eligible under the Circuit Breaker Program will still qualify for the Reduced Fare Program.
4) I currently have an RTA Seniors Ride Free Smart Card, but am not enrolled in the Circuit Breaker Program. What do I need to do?
Answer: Seniors who want to ride free must be enrolled in the Circuit Breaker program. Seniors wishing to apply should visit www.cbrx.il.gov to obtain an application or register online. Seniors can also visit their local senior center or call (800) 624-2459.
5) How do I qualify for the Illinois Department on Aging Circuit Breaker Program?
Answer: Seniors who would like to apply for the Circuit Breaker program can do so by visiting www.cbrx.il.gov or a senior center in your county or calling 800-624-2459. Current eligibility for Circuit Breaker income levels ranges from $27,610 or less for an individual, $36,635 or less for a two-person household, up to $45,657 or for a household of three or more people.
6) Once I’ve qualified for the Illinois Department on Aging Circuit Breaker Program, how do I obtain a Seniors Ride Free card?
Answer: After you’ve been approved for enrollment in the Circuit Breaker Program, seniors can apply in person at the RTA’s Customer Service Center at 165 N. Jefferson in Chicago. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. thru 4:30 p.m. Or, you can apply at any one of our 200 registration sites in the region. A complete listing of these sites can be found at www.RTAchicago.org.
7) If I already have Seniors Ride Free card am I grandfathered in?
Answer: No. All seniors who would like to continue to receive free rides must meet eligibility with the Illinois Department on Aging Circuit Breaker Program. Seniors wishing to apply should visit www.cbrx.il.gov to obtain an application or register online. Seniors can also visit their local senior center or call (800) 624-2459.
8) What is an RTA Reduced Fare permit?
Answer: An RTA Reduced Fare permit allows seniors, ages 65 and over, to ride all RTA fixed-route services at a reduced rate.
9) If I won’t qualify anymore for the Seniors Ride Free Program, will I still need to obtain a Reduced Fare Permit to ride the buses and trains at reduced price?
Answer: Yes, you will need to have a Reduced Fare Permit to ride buses and trains at a reduced fare. The RTA will contact you before August 12, 2011 with instructions on obtaining the reduced fare permit.
10) What are the differences between a Seniors Ride Free program, Reduced Fare program and the Circuit Breaker program?
Answer: The Seniors Ride Free program allows seniors who qualify under the Circuit Breaker Program to ride on all RTA fixed-route services for free. The Reduced Fare program allows seniors who do not qualify for the free rides program to use all RTA fixed-route services at a reduced fare. The Circuit Breaker Program qualifies seniors for the free ride permit if their income level ranges from $27,610 or less for an individual, $36,635 or less for a two-person household, up to $45,657 or for a household of three or more people.
11) What is being changed to the People with Disabilities Ride Free Program?
Answer: The People with Disabilities Ride Free Program will not change. This program is already means tested.
RTA Customer Service Center
165 N. Jefferson
Chicago, IL 60661
Hours of Operation
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Learn more about the Illinois Department on Aging Circuit Breaker Program at www.cbrx.il.gov