Seniors Ride Free

A sign promoting free rides for seniors hangs in a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) transit station in Chicago on Monday, March 17, 2008. Thanks to a squabble between then-Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and legislators, the Chicago Transit Authority system had become the nation's largest transportation system to let seniors ride for free.

About 900,000 senior citizens benefited after legislators handed the Illinois governor a transportation bill in January of that year that forced him to break a promise to not raise taxes. He responded by adding free rides for seniors, a group with high voter turnout, angering leaders trying to control costs.

Free rides for most senior citizens on the CTA will now end September 1, 2011, officials say. That's when current senior free-ride permits will no longer be accepted. The move follows current-Illinois governor Pat Quinn's decision in February to sign legislation limiting free rides to only low-income senior citizens, age 65 or older.