Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A senior responds to the Chicago Tribune's campaign to eliminate free rides to seniors

Dear Editors:

You have written two editorials regarding abolishing the "free rides." Mr. Dennis Byrne's column (,0,229888.story) was insulting, mean-spirited, and definitely short-sighted. Anyone who feels the way he does is free to pay their fare. Most wealthy people don't ride public transportation.

However, anyone who is against this freebie, is short-sighted is not thinking what this can do for the RTA. I'm a senior. I'm not poor, but I use my card proudly. I'll tell you why. When alone, I walk four blocks, and climb the steps to the "L", I'm always happy to see crowded trains. If I see a car that is almost vacant, I seek out a car that has many people in it.

Usually I take people with me; for example, my teenage grandchildren, when we tak the Red-line to a White Sox game. They are paying customers and love the trip. When I take my children and grandchildren downtown, to museums, concerts, etc, we take the "L" and THEY are paying customers.

There are out-of-town visitors who ride the buses and rails with me. They have heard about crime in Chicago, and are often reluctant to take public trans. When they come with me and see that I'm not afraid, they are also paying customers.

I have season tickets to the Goodman theatre with friends from the suburbs. I've convinced them to take the CTA, to avoid expensive parking. In groups they are willing to do it. They too are paying cutomers.

These are just a few examples. We seniors are not "greedy," just wanting to USE the more interesting, environmentally better, transportation available and show others the way. don't people understand that the higher the fares, the fewer perks, the fewer people will be riding. We want to see those cars and buses full. When services start getting curtailed, and the system becomes unreliable, fewer people will ride, etc. It becomes a downward spiral.

Consider this "freebie" good PR. Not just for the RTA, but for the city of Chicago. Talk about "World Class City"? For the Olympics?

Set your sights on the long-range benefits, especially public relations-wise, of this "freebie."

Joan Elbert, Senior Taxpayer (Redline, bus 151, 147, etc. user)

No comments:

Post a Comment