Reporting Susanna Song
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UPDATED 06/13/12 6:58 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — If you take the CTA to work, you will soon be able to snag a cheaper fare courtesy of Chicago-based Groupon.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the program is part of a first-of-a-kind deal.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
The Chicago Transit Authority has partnered with Groupon to offer discounted 3-Day passes for $9 to Chicago Transit Authority riders beginning at the end of the month.
Groupon will offer the deal on its Web site, which you can print or pull up on your smartphone.
Groupon is buying a total of 250,000 3-Day passes from the CTA for $1.882 million. The CTA sells the passes for $14, but Groupon will offer them for only $9.
The offer will have a limit of four per person, the city says.
If the program is successful, Groupon and the CTA will offer another 250,000 passes for the cheaper fare.
“This innovative deal is exciting in many ways,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a news release. “It will generate nearly $2 million of immediate additional revenue for CTA, it will introduce and attract new potential customers to CTA, and is an innovative example of the government and business community working together to benefit the entire city.”
The city says the Groupon deal is a win-win for the CTA. The agency gets an immediate influx of capital as part of a deal that will surely attract new riders.
“This is a great way to unite two highly visible and respected brands,” CTA President Forrest Claypool said in the release. “This unique offer is an innovative way for the CTA to cultivate new, local customers and tourists in a way we’ve never done before. This is an innovative partnership, as this is the first time Groupon has partnered with a transit agency.”
Some riders were excited about the idea Wednesday morning.
“It’s a pretty cool idea,” said CTA rider Brenna Milligan. “I mean, for that cheap, and a 3-Day pass, it’s pretty good.”
Milligan said she would “totally” buy the discounted pass. But Lindsey Orr and Mindy Eades weren’t nearly as enthusiastic.
“I would like it if it was a monthly pass, but I don’t use the 3-Day passes,” Orr said. “But I think it’s cool.”
Orr said she doesn’t think the deal will draw the throng of tourists the CTA is expecting either.
“Probably not; when I go somewhere, I don’t take the train,” she said. “I just take a cab.”
Eades agreed that the monthly pass is valued by many riders over the 3-Day pass.
“I wouldn’t get the Groupon for that,” she said. “I think maybe some people who are really into the couponing would, but otherwise probably not. I feel like enough local people do the pass – the monthly – if they’re going to be a part of it – I don’t have any friends that do anything but the monthly pass, if they ride the train.”
Eric Kanter thought the Groupon discount was a good idea, but he also said the city shouldn’t expect it to draw more tourists.
“It’s great – more money for the city, and I’m sure it helps Groupon also,” Kanter said. “(But) I don’t think any more tourists are going to come. I don’t think most tourists that come in really use the CTA all that much, and especially get it from Groupon if it’s just for one day or two days, three days. I don’t think it’s going to draw more tourists, but I think local people who might not use it will start using it more.”
The agreement does not affect the price or availability of 3-Day passes elsewhere.