Chicago will offer free gas and public transit cards to help combat rising fuel prices and inflation, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday.
The city will issue up to 50,000 gas cards worth $150 each, distributed through a lottery. They will also issue 100,000 public transit cards worth $150, Ms. Lightfoot announced in a statement about the program “Chicago Moves.”
Chicago residents can apply for the gas cards beginning on April 27, and they will be distributed in monthly waves of 10,000 starting in May. The cards can only be used at Chicago gas stations and will be valid for one year.
“People have to be able to get to work, school, places of worship, medical offices, grocery stores,” Ms. Lightfoot said in the release. “The goal of this program is to help make those moves easier.”
Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a valid city resident sticker and have a household income at or below 140% of the city’s median income — $91,420 for a one-person household.
The average price of a gallon of gas in Chicago is $4.84, according to AAA.
Chicago residents are spending an average of 4.5% of their annual income at the pump, up from 3.1% a year ago, according to data from the Center for Neighborhood Technology.
About 75,000 public transit cards will be distributed based on geographic data, prioritizing residents in low-income neighborhoods. The other 25,000 will be distributed citywide.
“The CTA remains the most affordable and convenient way to get around the city, and we work hard every day to provide the essential service that so many Chicagoans rely on — especially when public transit is the only option,” Chicago Transit Authority President Dorval R. Carter Jr. said in a statement. “Public transit is key to the city’s recovery from the pandemic, and as workers begin returning to the office and residents return to their routines, our trains and buses are ready to get them there.”