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Only Some Chicago Residents Are Eligible to Earn a Free Gas or Public Transit Card. Here's What to Know

After a narrow 26-23 vote, Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved "Chicago Moves," a new program proposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot that is set to distribute 50,000 pre-loaded gas cards worth $150 each and 100,000 pre-loaded public transit cards worth $50 each via a lottery.

But only some Chicago residents will qualify for an opportunity to earn one of the cards. And according to officials, the majority of the cards will be reserved for residents in community areas that face higher mobility hardship.

Here's who the city says is eligible to participate in the program.

Who in Chicago is Eligible to Earn Free Gas Card or Public Transit Card?

To be eligible to receive either a $150 pre-loaded gas card or a $50 pre-loaded public transit card, Chicago residents must fill out an application either in-person at any Chicago Public Library location, online or by mail.

Only those who meet the requirements below will then be entered into a lottery for an opportunity to win 1 of 10,000 free gas cards, or one of 50,000 free public transit cards.

Applicants must:

  • Be a resident of Chicago
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a current and valid city sticker with correct mailing information for their vehicle (required only for those applying for a gas card)
  • Bring in a household income at or below 100% of the Area Median Income

According to Chicago data, here's how the area median income by household size is broken down:

  • 1-person household: $65,300
  • 2-person household: $74,600
  • 3-person household: $83,900
  • 4-person household: $93,200
  • 5-person household: $100,700
  • 6-person household: $108,200
  • 7-person household: $115,600
  • 8-person household: $123,100

Only one application per household will be accepted.

According to the city, 75 percent of the cards "will prioritize residents in community areas that face higher mobility hardship."

The remaining 25 percent will be distributed citywide in equal amounts to each ward, the program's website says.

Lotteries for the program will be conducted beginning the second week of May through September, and cards will be distributed each month. In order to be considered for each month’s lottery, applications must be submitted by the first day of that month.

Those who are eligible and have entered the lottery but were not selected will then be considered for the next month's lottery.

Applications will be notified by email if they have been selected to receive either a gas or a public transit card.

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