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In Chicago, city workers required to take public transit

In Chicago, city workers required to take public transit

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In Chicago, all city government workers must now use public transit as their primary mode of transportation while on the job.

Public workers should use public transit.

That's according to Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose administration issued a mandate on Saturday requiring all city government workers to use Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains as their primary mode of transportation while on the job.

(And what if they can't? They will merely have to provide an explanation when seeking reimbursement.)

It makes perfect sense, but it's quite a change for a city whose wide roads welcome the automobile.

NBC Chicago's BJ Lutz has more:

The policy was crafted after Emanuel ordered City Comptroller Amer Ahmad to conduct a thorough review of past mileage and travel practices to increase accountability and efficiency across city government, a release from the mayor's office said.

Unsurprisingly, some employees were found to be reimbursed for car washes, parking tickets and late fees on personal credit cards. Under the new rules, stronger documentation is required -- making it harder to cheat the system but also giving the city more insight into how its workers travel during office hours.

The polices are expected to save the city about $1 million in 2012, but the bigger implication is how this could help the car-friendly city move toward more frequent -- and perhaps more funded -- public transit use. With 36,000 employees on the city payroll, it would be hard to leave such infrastructure underfunded when so many Chicago government workers use it.

Photo: Tripp/Flickr

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure