The Illinois legislature decided not to eliminate free rides for senior citizens on the city’s subways and buses.
The legislature is taking up the issue after the CTA issued a proposed doomsday-style fare increase that would have hiked the price of a train ride from $2.25 to $3, making Chicago’s slow, dilapidated transit system among the most expensive in the country.
Cutting the “free rides for seniors” program would save the CTA an estimated $30 million this year and $60 million next year.
But state senators balked at the idea of taking back the free rides, which were implemented by ousted governor Rod Blagojevich, apparently because the elected officials didn't want to upset seniors, a consistent voting block, so close to election time.
One such senator Rickey Hendon didn't hide was outspoken critic of eliminating the rides.
"When I was growing up, CTA stood for Crooks Taking Advantage!" State senator Rickey Hendon said in a delicious sound bite captured by WBEZ. "I will die and go meet Jesus before I allow them to take away free rides for seniors!"a