The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) announced it has launched Fare Programs Online, a web-based online customer portal that allows people with disabilities and seniors to apply for, replace, and renew Reduced Fare and Ride Free Permits.
This marks the first time these services are available online. Mail-in and in-person services remain an option for those who cannot or prefer not to use the web portal.
“While the RTA was exploring an online portal before COVID-19 began, it’s undeniable that the pandemic accelerated the need for these services to be easily accessible from the comfort of one’s home,” said Leanne Redden, RTA executive director. “The Fare Programs Portal will reduce paper processes, reduce printing and mailing expenses, and increase customer convenience.”
The RTA’s Reduced Fare Permit allows seniors and people with qualifying disabilities to ride at a reduced rate on CTA, Metra, and Pace buses and trains. Ride Free Permits allow older adults and people with disabilities who are enrolled in the Illinois Department on Aging’s Benefit Access Program to ride free on CTA, Metra, and Pace fixed-route services.
As of September 2021, nearly 360,000 people throughout the region had active Reduced Fare or Ride Free Permits. This includes 54,588 people with disabilities and 91,909 seniors with Ride Free Permits, as well as 8,642 people with disabilities and 204,502 seniors with Reduced Fare Permits.
“Our goal is to reach as many people as possible throughout the region who could benefit from free and reduced fare transit service, and we hope and expect our online portal to have a major impact,” Redden said.