CTA to provide free rides overnight on New Year's Eve

CHICAGO (STMW) - CTA riders will not have to pay for trains and buses over the New Year’s holiday.

Beginning 10 p.m. Thursday, all CTA trains and buses will be free to ride, according to a statement from the agency. Riders will not need to touch their fare cards at turnstiles or before boarding buses until 4 a.m. Friday.

The CTA will also extend hours and increase the frequency of service for several bus and rail routes, the statement said.

Signs will be posted reminding customers about the free ride period on bus fare boxes and rail station Ventra readers will be turned off, according to the CTA. No refunds will be issued to riders who use their fare cards during the free ride period.

For the last four years, MillerCoors’ Miller Light has sponsored the promotion as part of an agreement with the CTA to discourage drunk driving during the holiday. Each year, the CTA sees an average of 150,000 bus and train rides on New Year’s Eve.

“The program encourages people to leave their keys at home and let the CTA be their designated driver,” CTA President Dorval Carter, Jr. said in the statement.

Trains and buses will run on a regular weekday schedule Thursday, but a Sunday/Holiday schedule will come into effect after 4 a.m. Friday. Refer to the CTA website for more information about specific lines and routes.

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