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Rail stations, bus shelters to see more trackers

The CTA board on Friday approved the installation of 50 digital signs displaying bus and train tracking information outside rail stations across the system.

The panels are expected to be installed this summer to the tune of $2.6 million, the CTA said. One of these panels is currently outside the Grand Blue Line station on the Near West Side.

Meanwhile, the CTA said it's still finalizing a schedule for installing 250 Bus Tracker signs at shelters across the system. The project was a holdover from last year as the CTA worked to make equipment changes.

In other CTA board news:

>> Board chairman Terry Peterson said the CTA would work with homeless youth activists who requested Friday to create a reduced fare card for homeless Chicago youth.

The CTA already offers 85 cent rides to students who regularly attend Chicago Public Schools. This price decreases to 75 cents Monday when CTA fare changes take effect.

Julie Dworkin, director of policy for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, told Going Public in a story Wednesday that not all homeless youth can regularly attend class. Dworkin said the youth need the cards to go to school and look for jobs.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said the law limits who can receive reduced fares. The CTA said it provides $100 million of federally or state-mandated free and discounted rides to some senior citizens and veterans and other groups, and the state reimburses the agency for $28 million.

"I want to try to work through this," Peterson said. "I got kids caught in the middle of policy."

>> The board approved the purchase of 300 new clean diesel buses, at about $489,000 per bus, as part of an initiative announced in June to overhaul the CTA's bus fleet.

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