Fifth year for popular “First Day, Free Rides” program aimed at promoting attendance
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) reminds parents that it will provide students with free bus and train rides on the first day of school, Tuesday, September 8, as part of Mayor Emanuel’s “First Day, Free Rides” program, which is now in its fifth year.
“There’s truth behind the saying, ‘One good thing leads to another,’” said CTA President Dorval Carter. “It is our hope that this small incentive – of providing free bus and train rides to students and their accompany parents on the first day of school – can help set the tone for a successful academic school year for all.”
Originally launched in September 2011, the First Day, Free Rides program provides free rides to students and accompanying adults on the first day of Chicago Public Schools’ fall semester. Last year, nearly 123,000 free rides were provided by the CTA on the first day of school.
As evident by the more than 28 million reduced student rides taken on CTA during the 2013-2014 academic school year, students are dependent on the CTA to get them to and from school, their after school jobs, practice or academic clubs and events. Each year, the CTA works closely with Chicago Public Schools to coordinate academic and service schedules to make sure there is an appropriate amount of service available for students along routes operating near schools throughout the school year.
Students who are enrolled in school are eligible to ride the CTA for 75 cents Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. while school is in session. This discounted rate is the result of efforts made by Mayor Emanuel and the CTA in 2013, to make transit even more affordable during the school year. Beyond school hours, elementary students ages 7-11 pay reduced fares of $1 on the bus and $1.10 on rail and for individuals ages 12 and older pay full fare.
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