How to get a free gas, Ventra card from the city

Here’s how to apply for a free gas or Ventra card offered through the city of Chicago.

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Volunteers pump gas donated by businessman and former Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson for drivers at a BP gas station at 5201 W. Cermak Rd. in Cicero, Thursday morning, March 24, 2022. Starting at 7 a.m., each vehicle got up to $50 of free gasoline at dozens of gas stations across the Chicago area, until $1 million was spent.

Volunteers pump free gas at a BP gas station at 5201 W. Cermak Rd. in Cicero in March 2022 during a giveaway. Now the City of Chicago is launching its own transit giveaway.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to use a $12.5 million gas and mass transit card giveaway passed the City Council on April 27. That means thousands of Chicagoans will be eligible to receive help at the pump or the “L.”

Here’s what you need to know about this program and how to apply.

What assistance is available?

City residents can enter the lottery for a chance to win a prepaid card valued at either $150 for gas or $50 for Ventra. When applying, you will have to decide whether you’re entering for a gas card or a Ventra transit card. The city will give out up to 50,000 gas cards and 100,000 Ventra cards.

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Entrants to the gas card lottery must be motorists living in Chicago, 18 years or older, with a valid city sticker and a maximum household income of 100% of the area median income — $93,200 for a family of four.

Ventra lottery entrants do not have to be motorists or have a city sticker, but they must be 18 years or older and a city resident who meets the income requirement.

Where can I use the prepaid cards?

The gas cards can only be used at 417 “active filling stations” within city limits. Nine stations have been excluded from the program because they are “not in good standing with the city,” officials said.

The Ventra cards can be used at Ventra vending machines at CTA stations or at Ventra retail locations. Users can also load the value to their cards using the Ventra website or app.

When will the lottery take place?

The lottery will take place during the second week of each month starting in May and repeating each month through September.

The deadline for applications will be the first of each month. The first deadline will be Sunday, May 1. Applications do roll over, so you do not need to reapply each month.

How do I apply?

Applications are now being accepted online at chicago.gov/ChicagoMoves. You can also apply in person at a branch of the Chicago Public Library or mail a PDF version of the application to: ATTN: Dept. of Finance: Chicago Moves, 121 N. LaSalle St., 7th Floor, Chicago, IL 60602.

For more information, call 1-312-742-3317.

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