Chicago-area transit agencies are taking steps to help commuters through the COVID-19 crisis.
Through at least April 7, Ventra riders will receive prorated credit for unused passes.
There also will be free bus rides on Pace for some customers, and prices of Divvy bike passes will be reduced significantly, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.
In a statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she sought the subsidies to reduce the burden on workers, especially health professionals who can’t work from home.
“During this unprecedented event, it is essential we provide needed transportation relief to the dedicated individuals working on the front lines of this crisis, as well as ensure our city’s families and residents still have access to essential goods and supplies,” Lightfoot said.
The Chicago Transit Authority will offer prorated credit for unused days on active 7- and 30-day Ventra passes, based on when the pass was last used, according to the mayor’s office.
Riders must apply for the credit on Ventra’s website. It will then be added automatically to Ventra accounts.
Pace is waiving its $3 fare for paratransit riders who show their TAP card when boarding, the mayor’s office said. Riders must limit travel to “essential activities,” and the maximum fare covered is $30; riders pay any portion above that. That policy is in effect until further notice.
Annual Divvy memberships will be slashed in half, from $99 to $49.50, while single 30-minute rides will fall from $3 to $1, the mayor’s office said. Some health care workers will be able to ride for free, starting next week; they can register through their employer for unlimited 45-minute rides; their employer should email firstname.lastname@example.org to determine eligibility. The Divvy price cuts last through April 30.
Meanwhile, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection is in talks with the taxi industry to subsidize Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle operators and taxis in the Taxi Access Program, which serves riders with disabilities, the mayor’s office said.
Collection of fines and fees for taxis and ride-share vehicles already has been suspended through the end of April.