The Progress Center for Independent Living Board of Directors passed a resolution last Thursday to applaud Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s action in reversing a proposed Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) paratransit fare increase from $1.75 to $3.00. Paratransit serves people with disabilities who are unable to ride the train or bus.

“A lot of these people don’t even work,” Daley said. “Some are working at a low scale…People with disabilities are eager to become part of the mainstream to society, and we should make it easier for them use transportation.”

This is the second attempt by the CTA to raise the paratransit fare this year. The CTA Board proposed to raise fares as of January 1st, but the CTA rescinded the previous decision when they obtained financial assistance from the Illinois General Assembly.

“A significant portion of Progress Center’s employees and consumers use CTA’s paratransit service,” said executive director Diane Coleman, “and the proposed fare increase would impose a severe burden.”

One employee who uses the service to get to work everyday, Larry Biondi, said “I love my job, but employed disabled people don’t get much help to offset disability related expenses, and every month is a stretch. A $60 per month fare increase to get to work would be very hard to handle.”

Another employee, Martha Cooper, said, “Some of our consumers live in nursing homes, but are trying to work their way back into community living. They only get $30 a month to spend, and the fare increase could squash their efforts to re-join mainstream society.”

The Forest Park Progress Center for Independent Living is located at 7521 Madison Street.

“Submitted by Larry Biondi