The state house executive committee today decided, unanimously and without debate, to roll back the controversial senior free ride program so it only applies to low-income seniors. according to Diane Palmer, spokeswoman for the Regional Transportation Authority. The bill still has to be voted on by both the full house and senate.
Speaking after a City Club luncheon today, RTA executive director Stephen Schlickman said that he was "pleased" to hear of the committee vote. The RTA board had announced earlier this month that it supported rolling back the free ride program, which would save the RTA about $37 million a year. All three transit area agencies are raising fares and/or cutting service for 2010 because of budget troubles.
Schlickman said the bill before the house would preserve free rides for 30 percent of seniors, who are low income. "I think that's appropriate public policy," Schlickman said. "All other seniors will still get half fare benefits."