RTA Finds Fraud In Free Rides For Seniors Program

CHICAGO (CBS) – Passes giving free rides to seniors on Chicago area buses and trains are, in some cases, being used to rip off the system. And the cash-strapped RTA is hopping mad. CBS 2’s Mike Parker says all the fuss could help lead to the program’s demise.

The RTA says it has found that at least 164 senior free ride identity cards belonging to now dead people are still being used.

Twenty-five thousand free rides, mostly on the CTA, have been fraudulently made. One card, for example, has been used for 1,400 of those rides.

RTA spokeswoman Diane Palmer said, “Perhaps a relative is possibly using the card fraudulently, perhaps the cards are being sold. That’s costing the transit system money at a time when we can least afford it.”

The estimated cost of all those rides is $50,000. But the RTA says its limited audit probably shows only 5 percent of the actual amount of fraud.

Bus riders we talked with did not seem shocked.

Senior pass holder Bonnie Wood said, “I think it’s just Chicago, I guess. If there’s a way to corrupt anything, I suppose they will.”

In the words of rider Diane Norwood, “Wrongdoers are going to do wrong every chance they get.”

The revelation comes just as the Illinois Legislature mulls over the idea of simply doing away with the free ride program because of its cost. The RTA says it is losing an estimate $38 million a year in revenue.

A repeal may just happen this year, to be replaced by a low-income requirement for seniors to get the rides.

Gov. Pat Quinn is promising to veto any repeal, but he’ll be under a lot of pressure from Chicago area transit officials to give in. The idea’s time may have come.

  • Myrna Jurcev

    Seniors who are retired accountant should do a forensic audit if the cta, rta, metra and see what other abuses are found like sellling regular rider cards for half price, drivers never looking at the pictures on the senior cards because they probably gave all their family members a card or two! Come on everyone abuses the systems for years like getting on the back door, wlaking right past the driver in a crowd etc .etc. etc. I earned my card by commuting for 47 years of my work life and paying my way. So now taking my car off the street and putting me on a half empty bus is costing the transit system big bucks. PLEASE spare me. Take a bus, an elevated and then a bus downtown does not constiute 3 rides!!! I can go on and on. Even wrote several letters to the editor with out too much printed. However, just let me get at the books and they’d make money and wouldn’t get the pension benefits over and above the ordinary workers get!!!

    • Diana

      That’s a great idea. In what possible way can we get something like this to happen? In fact this would be very helpful in all sectors of our City,County and State also. I won’t hold my breath tho.

  • http://17free.pp.ru/rta-finds-fraud-in-free-rides-for-seniors-program-%c2%ab-cbs-chicago/ Free » Blog Archive » RTA Finds Fraud In Free Rides For Seniors Program « CBS Chicago …

    […] the rest here: RTA Finds Fraud In Free Rides For Seniors Program « CBS Chicago … Tags: area-buses, being-used, cash, cbs, chicago, fuss, parker, program, rta, […]

  • http://invilinks.com/blog/?p=129 RTA Finds Fraud In Free Rides For Seniors Program « CBS Chicago … « Invisible Links Blog

    […] here to read the rest: RTA Finds Fraud In Free Rides For Seniors Program « CBS Chicago … :area-buses, being-used, cash, cbs, chicago, fuss, parker, program, rta, seniors-on-chicago, […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live