Metra lets medical personnel ride free; CTA, Divvy, Pace also making changes amid COVID-19 crisis

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Metra will now allow medical personnel to ride the commuter rail for free during the state's "stay-at-home" order, and other changes are being made to various transit options across the Chicago area as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

Doctors, nurses, paramedics and other medical personnel on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis will now be able to ride free on Metra trains for the duration of the state's "stay-at-home" order, officials said Monday. To ride free, medical personnel only need to present a work ID, showing they are employed at a hospital, doctor's office, medical facility or local fire department to a Metra conductor.

"We know it's a small gesture, but if it makes this all a little bit easier for these men and women who are bravely showing up at work every day and saving lives during this crisis, it's the right thing to do," Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski said.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also announced assistance offerings to alleviate the cost burden of transportation during the "stay-at-home" order Tuesday.

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The city previously announced it will be delaying the collection of several fines and fees for the taxi and rideshare industries.

The CTA will be offering a prorated credit for any unused days on active seven- and 30-day passes, based on when the pass was last used. Visit ventrachicago.com for more information.

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection is working to further assist the taxi industry with a direct subsidy, and a short-term financial subsidy is being considered for Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicle operators and taxis that provide rides for the Taxi Access Program (TAP).

Pace is waiving its $3 fare collection on its TAP rides starting Monday. Riders are still required to present a TAP card to the taxicab operator at the beginning of the trip.

The city's bikeshare partner, Divvy, will begin offering steeply discounted memberships through April 30. An annual Divvy membership will be cut in half from $99 to $49.50; and single rides, for 30 minutes, will be reduced to $1, a steep discount from the $3 regular cost. Divvy is also launching a 30-day program to give critical healthcare workers free bikeshare rides, starting Wednesday and continuing through April 30. Eligible healthcare workers can sign up through their employer and eligible healthcare companies can email herobikes@lyft.com to learn more.
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