CTA and Sun-Times to Partner for First Day, Free Rides Program

August 27, 2012
Three-Year Agreement Signed for Program to Encourage First-Day Attendance
at Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools students will have a free ride on CTA buses and trains on Tuesday, September 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, announced today.
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 Sun-Times is committed to supporting the people of our community and we are proud to become the first ever multi-year sponsor of this important program,“ said Timothy P. Knight, CEO of Wrapports, LLC owner of Sun-Times Media.  “Every student deserves to get to school safely and on time as the foundational first step toward a great education.” 
“We are so appreciative to the CTA and Sun-Times Media for providing free rides to our students and making it easier to get all kids back in the classroom on day one,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. "This year all CPS students will benefit from a full, quality day, and this partnership will help to ensure that all students will receive the education they deserve. Thank you for joining us in our efforts to start the year out strong by getting kids in school on the first 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 rail car 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.
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