Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students will have a free ride on Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses and trains on Sept. 4, the first day of the new school year for most CPS students. This is thanks in part to the Chicago Sun-Times sponsorship of the program.
This agreement, which will last three years, is the first-ever multiyear sponsorship of the CTA’s First Day of School Free Rides program. Sun-Times Media is contributing more than $150,000 to the program, designed to promote first-day attendance for CPS elementary and high school students.
“The CTA is proud to partner with a local company which is investing in the lives of CTA student customers and their families,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “Thousands of Chicago Public Schools students rely on public transportation to travel to and from their classes, and providing free rides on the first day starts out the year on the right note.”
Students already receive a discounted reduced riding rate on weekdays. This discount was extended recently by one half hour, to 8:30 p.m. daily, to accommodate the CPS extended school day.
The sponsorship also includes promotional trade elements for both the CTA and Sun-Times, including print and online benefits. The CTA will also provide advertising on unsold bus and railcar interiors, digital spaces and on 150,000 branded farecards.
Last year, the first year of the First Day of School Free Rides program, CTA provided about 170,000 rides to students at both CPS and private schools. The CTA provides roughly 25 million student rides each year.
This is the second sponsor secured this year for a CTA program.
Previously, MillerCoors announced it would sponsor "Penny Rides" on New Year’s Eve.