The Chicago Transit Authority today announced that beginning on Monday, August 4, active U.S. military personnel and qualifying disabled veterans will be able to register for the new CTA Military Service Pass that will allow them to ride free on CTA buses and trains.
The creation of a Military Service Pass program was authorized by the Chicago City Council in February. Earlier this year, the CTA began offering free rides for active duty military personnel dressed in full uniform and began developing a Military Service Pass that could be used to register and identify eligible participants who are not in uniform.
"In response to the City Council's directive, CTA has worked with the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs to make the Military Service Passes available to veterans and military personnel," said CTA President Ron Huberman. "To facilitate the registration process, and lend greater access to our convenient services, CTA has arranged to make the pass available at six locations throughout the agency's service area."
"Each year, millions of Illinoisans choose to utilize the CTA and other public transportation because they have the freedom to do so in the United States. Too often we forget that this nation's military service men and women risked their lives and made major sacrifices to protect those freedoms, just as they continue to do today," said Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director L. Tammy Duckworth. "I commend the CTA and the City of Chicago for providing our disabled Veterans and active duty service members with free transit rides and the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs is happy to assist in the application process. Our service members have given up so much for us, they deserve the very best benefits when they return home."
"This is something they truly deserve," added 11th Ward Alderman James A. Balcer.
"There is no way we can thank our active military personnel enough for all of the sacrifices and risks that they undertake on our behalf, especially those who have become injured or disabled in the line of duty," said 14th Ward Alderman Edward Burke. "But, I hope, in some small way, the launching of this new program demonstrates our respect."
Qualified disabled veterans and active duty military personnel not in uniform must have the CTA issued Military Service Pass in order to ride free. Active duty military personnel dressed in full uniform may continue to ride CTA buses and trains free without the new pass.
To be eligible for the Military Service Pass, active military personnel must present an Armed Forces identification card. Disabled veterans must present a valid state identification card along with an official letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs (USDVA) indicating eligibility for a qualifying service-connected disability payment.
Customers will receive their Military Service Pass the same day they register by going to one of the following authorized locations on the selected days, where CTA personnel will be on site to take applicants' photos and confirm their eligibility. CTA will conduct registration at these locations through the end of the year:
First Monday and Tuesday of Every Month - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph Street, Room 5-570
Chicago, IL 60601
First Thursday of Every Month - 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
General Jones Armory
5200 S. Cottage Grove, Room N100
Chicago, IL 60615
Second Wednesday of Every Month - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Evanston Veterans Center
565 Howard Street
Evanston, IL 60202
Third Thursday of Every Month - 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Oak Park Veterans Center
155 S. Oak Park Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302
Fourth Tuesday of Every Month - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Jesse Brown VA Medical Center
820 S. Damen Avenue, Room 2446
Chicago, IL 60612
Fourth Wednesday of Every Month - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital
5000 S. 5th Avenue, Building 1-C Lobby
Maywood, IL 60141
Should military personnel or disabled veterans have any questions or experience any problems while using the Military Service Pass, CTA bus operators and customer assistants are available to assist. Customers may also contact CTA Customer Service at 1-888-YOUR-CTA (968-7282).
The CTA Military Service Pass is an identification card that can only be used on CTA buses and trains; it is not valid for Metra, Pace or Pace Paratransit services.
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