Pace Suburban Bus Service (PACE), Metra Commuter Rail (Metra), and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) recognize the commitment that military service people have made to our country and they are working together to show thanks from the transit community. For the past 12 months PACE, Metra and CTA have worked together to provide transit information and military service passes to active duty personnel and service connected disabled veterans.
PACE, Metra and CTA provide transportation services regionally to the Chicagoland area with the Regional Transportation Authority serving as the administrative agency for all three transit providers. The three agencies have decided to recognize eligible military personnel in different ways. CTA provides a Military Service Pass (MSP) for individuals to ride the CTA bus and train free. Metra Rail will give a discounted rate to individuals who show military identification indicating active duty status or if in uniform. Pace Bus will grant a free ride for passengers who are uniformed active duty soldiers. On the fourth Tuesday of every month CTA representative Walter Silmon, Jr. and Pace representative Bryce D. Word assist qualified individuals at the Jesse Brown VA Hospital in Chicago.
On average there are a couple hundred military individuals who come through to get a military service pass and find out about their transit options. “I enjoy spending time with the veterans and educating them about regional transportation. All of them truly need their military service pass and utilize public transit heavily to go to work, the VA or other places of importance. Considering what it is they have done for the country it’s the least I can do,” Word said. “There are several segments of the population who rely on public transit and veterans certainly are one of them, so if they can be empowered with information and ride free or at a reduced rate then it definitely is a positive,” Word said.
CTA representative Walter Silmon, Jr. had similar feelings regarding his role in assisting those who served in the military. “The program began in 2008 and it’s something we give back to them. I’m blessed to be part of this and hope it will continue. It’s a blessing in disguise and I’m very pleased to be doing this,” Silmon said. He continued, “This is a contribution to them as they have contributed to the country. If this is something we can do for them to alleviate the stress of returning home then it’s a blessing.”
Pace Suburban Bus Service, along with the sister agencies, is deeply committed in providing dependable and accessible transit for those who are transit dependent as well that those who choose public transportation as an option. Recently Pace adopted a new slogan: Connecting Communities. By participating in the Military Personnel Program, Pace is renewing its commitment to the communities in which it serves and the passengers it transports.