By Bronzeville Life Reporters

Chicago wants to help struggling drivers at the pump and CTA riders struggling with the costs of inflation.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently announced that the city will give free $150 gas cards and $50 CTA cards to eligible residents. The gas cards will be given to 50,000 drivers and up to 100,000 CTA riders.

Applications for Chicago Moves will open on April 27.

The decision is part of the city’s $12.5 million Chicago Moves program to help residents with inflation and high gas prices.

More information will be released pending City Council approval.

The $150 gas cards will be distributed to eligible residents via a lottery system. These cards will be valid for one year after receipt and may only be spent on the cost of fuel at gas stations located within Chicago. Applications are limited to one per household. Beginning in May, cards will be distributed in five successive monthly waves of 10,000 residents.

To be eligible for these cards, applicants must:  

Be residents of Chicago  

Be at least 18 years old  

Have a current and valid City sticker with correct mailing information for their vehicle 

Have a household income at or below 140% of the Area Median Income for Chicago (available here) 

“This is a responsible approach to provide working people with transportation cost relief as they commute to and from their jobs,” said Bob Reiter, President, Chicago Federation of Labor in a statement. “We support the Mayor’s effort to uplift Chicago residents working to support their families and earn a meaningful living.” 

Lightfoot said of the 100,000 transit cards, 75,000 will be given to the most frequent CTA riders in low-income neighborhoods. An additional 25,000 transit cards 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,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “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.”  

 To be eligible for these cards, applicants must: 

Be residents of Chicago  

Have a household income at or below 140% of the Area Median Income for Chicago (available here) 


The move comes after Businessman Willie Wilson gave over $1 million in free gas to Chicago area drivers in recent weeks.

According to AAA, the price of gas in the Chicago area was $4.67 on April 2, which is higher than Illinois and the country. But a trip through the South Side revealed that many gas stations on the South Side were selling gas at $4.69 a gallon. A BP gas station in South Shore sold fuel at $4.79 on April 2.

“This is a huge step toward making Chicago more accessible to those having to choose between gas, a ride on the CTA, or the grocery store. Especially for essential workers who do not have the choice to work remotely, this is a way to provide many folks relief as they commute to work each day,” said Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia. “I look forward to continuing this partnership with Mayor Lightfoot and our city’s leaders to help those experiencing economic hardship breathe a sigh of relief.”  

Alderman Pat Dowell of the 3rd Ward said, “Our residents need to be able to get to work, to drop their kids off at school, to get around. Thank you to Mayor Lightfoot for her commitment to ensuring residents, especially our most vulnerable residents, have options as they deal with the financial burden of soaring gas prices.”  

Fifth Third Bank and Onbe, a market-leading corporate disbursements fintechbe are providing the prepaid cards and payment processing for the program with no transaction fees.

“Fifth Third Bank is pleased to support the City of Chicago and those eligible for Chicago Moves. We recognize the importance of the role we play in our communities, especially in the most challenging of times,” said Mark Hoppe, Regional President of Fifth Third Bank, Chicago. 

“Together with Fifth Third, we’re offering the City of Chicago a faster, more strategic way to distribute funds to residents,” said Bala Janakiraman, CEO of Onbe. “The City of Chicago can expect a seamless payments experience that ensures Chicago residents quickly receive their cards with no transaction fees. As active members of the Chicago community, we’re pleased to lend our expertise to the Chicago Moves program.”