Reporting Bob Roberts
CHICAGO (CBS) – As many as 3,000 airline employees and other workers at O’Hare International Airport will be able to board the CTA Blue Line free at the airport through July 12, as the transit agency scrambles to provide them with special fare cards.
The cards are designed to allow the workers to avoid paying the surcharge that is raising the outbound Blue Line fare at O’Hare for many riders to $5.
CTA spokesman Brian Steele said CTA and the Chicago Dept. of Aviation made the decision jointly when the transit agency was unable to deal with a last-minute wave of requests for the special passes.
Another 2,000 workers have the new passes and are expected to use them, Steele said.
CTA is about to transition away from the type of stored-value card that is being issued, so Steele said those workers getting the cards now will have to be re-equipped with new cards beginning in September.
CTA began offering the free rides to those who display an airport-issued identification badge or an employer-issued ID card during the Wednesday evening rush.
Steele said that customer assistants at the O’Hare station have been instructed on the temporary policy.
The CTA’s board approved the $2.75 surcharge in January. It gave many riders a six-month grace period that ended Monday, when the complaints by employees began.
Those who are not airport employees who hope to avoid the surcharge are advised to purchase CTA one-day, three-day, seven-day or 30-day unlimited ride passes.