GRANITE CITY – Officials from Governor Blagojevich’s administration today joined local legislators and the Madison County Transit (MCT) agency to launch the first program to provide access to free public transportation for all seniors in Illinois since the Governor took action on the statewide transit funding plan. The Madison County Transit board today approved implementation plans for a program that will begin offering seniors and the disabled free service starting Monday, February 4th. Since the Governor launched a toll-free hotline and website for interested seniors last week, more than 30,000 senior citizens statewide have pre-registered for free transit service.
“The MCT Board’s decision today is going to improve the quality of life for many deserving people,” said MCT Managing Director Jerry Kane. “We’re grateful to the Governor and the hard-working members of the General Assembly who have made all of this possible.”
“I depend on MCT buses every day. I’m in a wheelchair, so I rely on these buses to take me everywhere I need to go. This free service will be very convenient and very helpful for people like myself,” said Jo Anne Giofre, a Collinsville senior and MCT bus rider.
Earlier this month, the General Assembly approved a long-term mass transit funding bill that included the Governor’s amendatory veto to require transit agencies statewide to allow senior citizens, aged 65 and older, to use main line and fixed route public transit service for free. There are approximately 1.3 million seniors living in communities across Illinois that have mass transit service. Under the new law, transit agencies statewide have until March 17 to implement their free ride programs for senior citizens.
“Senior citizens will now have the ability to ride Madison County Transit free of charge. I am pleased we can offer this to seniors and provide them with some relief at a time when many, especially those on a fixed income, are struggling to afford health care or prescription drugs,” said Hoffman. “Having the option to stay mobile will allow seniors to remain active in their community and improve their quality of life.”
“Madison County is leading the way in Illinois. My home county will be the first under this new law to offer free public transportation to all seniors with no exceptions,” said State Rep. Dan Beiser (D - Alton). “They can now travel limitlessly and with ease.”
“I want to thank the Madison County Transit agency and the St. Clair Transit District for taking the initiative to get this done for our state’s senior citizens,” State Rep. Thomas Holbrook (Belleville – D). “I continue to urge all seniors to sign up now in advance to receive this wonderful service.”
Blagojevich administration officials will travel throughout the state in the next few weeks to encourage seniors to pre-register for free transit service that will be available across the rest of the state in mid March. Seniors should go online to www.illinois.gov/transit
, or call 1-800-252-8966 or 1-800-447-4278.