CTA considers ending employee free rides

November 10, 2011

Michell Eloy

(Flickr/ReneS)
An Orange Line train runs through downtown on Chicago's Elevated Train system.

Unionized Chicago Transit Authority employees could face losing their free ride passes.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said on Tuesday that ending free rides is one money-saving option the agency is looking at in its upcoming union contract negotiations, which he said will help fill the agency's $277 million budget deficit.

"It's something we're discussing with the union, among other changes," said Claypool, "but it's a collective bargaining process."

Amalgamated Transit Authority Local 308 President Robert Kelly, who represents many CTA employees, said ending free rides for employees would not save that much money.

"I don't know what he's trying to gain out of this," said Kelly. "Obviously, he's trying to gain some money, and this is stretching it to the max. I don't believe that the plan would save him more than or three million dollars a year."

Claypool says he doesn't know how much money could be saved by ending the free rides.

CTA hopes to save about $160 million next year from re-negotiating union contracts.