In an effort to help the growing strain on medical professionals during the Coronavirus pandemic, Metra announced Monday it will allow them to ride free on its trains for the duration of Illinois' Stay at Home Order.
The agency said in a news release it would allow all doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other personnel to ride free on all ten of its rail lines through April 7th.
Those riders need to display work identification that shows they are employed at a hospital, doctor's office, medical facility or local fire department.
"We know it's a small gesture," said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. "[But] if it makes this a little but easier for these men and women who are bravely showing up at work every day and saving lives during this crisis, it's the right thing to do."
Monday is also the first day Metra is cutting its daily service in half. The agency said last week it is reducing trains due to a "severe drop in ridership."
In a post about Coronavirus, Metra said it cleans train cars daily and stations multiple times a week, but school closings and more people working from home has led to fewer commuters. At its peak, Metra says it carries nearly 281,000 passengers each day.
Metra posted its alternate weekly schedule on its website, adding that more service reduction could follow if demand continues to slow.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a Stay at Home Order on Saturday. It prohibits non-essential travel and social trips, but allows travel to essential jobs, trips to the grocery store and checking in on relatives, among other activities.