The CTA has stepped up to try and stop the abuse of the Transit Ride Free programs for People with Disabilities, and Seniors that qualify under the State of Illinois Benefit Access Program ; and u-pass programs for students, and other programs.
The CTA also is auditing free and reduced-fare card usage to better understand card use, and ensure that the people who qualify for free and reduced-fare rides are the ones actually benefitting. The audit goes beyond the agency's regular monitoring of special fare programs, including free and reduced-fare rides. The audit was launched following a 20 percent spike in free rides so far this year.
In the CTA Press Release of Nov 12, 2014 "CTA Targets Fraudulent Use of Free, Reduced-Fare Cards" :
ALSO AS A REMINDER
The Transit Ride Free Program benefits so many in a positive way, but those that abuse these programs are affecting the future of these programs.
Last month the CTA began performing card-verification efforts at rail stations throughout the city and suburbs, verifying that individuals using any type of free or reduced-fare card were the cardholder listed on the face of the card. Regulations for free and reduced-fare programs—which include seniors, persons with disabilities, UPass, student fares and other categories—stipulate that those cards can only be used by the individual identified on the card, and can’t be transferred.We can only encourage CTA on stepping up there efforts in investigating fraud in the use of the free ride programs; but also support these programs that benefit the quality of life of so many. The CTA, as well as there sister agencies Metra, and PACE, and the oversight agency RTA have all in the past used these programs as scapegoats, and a bargaining tool in their yearly budgets.
Since October 2014, the CTA has collected more than 1,800 free and reduced-fare cards during the card-verification efforts. It estimates that the lost potential annualized revenue from the fraudulent use of those cards at $2.8 million.
ALSO AS A REMINDER