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RTA debuts new ADA Paratransit, Ride Free, and Reduced Fare materials to improve user experience

May 2, 2024

Mobility rebrand materials blog cover 2

On May 1, the RTA launched a collection of newly designed brochures, flyers, applications, and fare cards for the ADA Paratransit, Ride Free, and Reduced Fare programs within RTA’s Mobility Services department. The RTA decided to undertake an agency rebrand upon the approval of Transit is the Answer, the region’s strategic plan. Changing the agency’s refreshed brand symbolizes our commitment to change and embrace new thinking for how transit is operated in our region. The redesign of these fare program materials is an extension of that agency branding process. 

The updated fare cards in the launch use each program’s respective color boldly across the entire card, which helps transit operators and employees identify each Fare Program from a distance – and quickly. Previously distributed cards with an older design will still be honored on buses and trains in the region.

ADA Paratransit Certification Program

ADA Paratransit is an advanced registration, origin-to-destination, shared ride transportation service for individuals who, because of their disability or health condition, are unable to use fixed-route transit service for some or all their trips. Pace operates this service, while customer eligibility is determined and assessed by the RTA.

Reduced Fare and Ride Free Programs

The RTA’s Reduced Fare program is a federally mandated program providing approximately half-priced fare on public transportation for people with disabilities and adults 65 and older. The Ride Free program is a State of Illinois-mandated, means-tested program providing free public transportation for people with disabilities and adults 65 and older who qualify for the Illinois Department on Aging’s Benefit Access Program.

Access Pilot Program

Launched in January 2024 as a collaboration between the RTA, Metra, and Cook County, the Access Pilot Program is an 18-month program which extends reduced-ride fares on the Metra system to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient household members living within the six-county, Chicagoland region. The Access Pilot Permit was the first in the collection to be dressed in the new look.

Applications for the RTA Fare Programs can be accessed via the online portal.

What is RTA Mobility Services?

The RTA Mobility Services department is responsible for ensuring all riders can have access to our regional transit system regardless of their ability. The department houses the ADA Paratransit Certification Program, Reduced Fare and Ride Free Programs, the Access Pilot Program, and the Mobility Education Program which includes offering travel training to individuals, transit orientation presentations to groups, and conducting other forms of regional mobility education and outreach.

Currently, the looming transit funding gap threatens to underfund Mobility Service programs which are relied on by almost 400,000 of the region’s most vulnerable residents. As FY2024 state appropriations are not enough to cover the cost of delivering these vital services, our regional transit agencies will be forced to use general operating revenue to cover the bulk of the cost, decreasing the amount of money available to improve the transit system as a whole.

The RTA is working with policy makers at all levels of government to continue to raise awareness of these critical programs, the extent to which they’re underfunded, and how increasing contributions from the state helps address the long-term fiscal cliff. Join the Transit is the Answer Coalition to help bring about the legislative changes needed to support transit at this pivotal moment.

To apply for the RTA Fare Programs, visit https://fares.rtachicago.org/.

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Tagged in: ADA Paratransit | Ride Free | Reduced Fare | Access Pilot Program | Chicago

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