Starting this week, Illinois joined Pennsylvania as only the second state to let senior citizens 65 and older ride public transportation for free. The fee waiver applies to all main-line and fixed-route public transit services, which operate in communities with approximately 1.3 million seniors. Officials hope the waiver will reap both financial and lifestyle benefits for seniors who often struggle to find good transportation alternatives. It is estimated that participating seniors who use public transit twice a week could save between $175 and $405 a year on fares. The fee waiver is part of a transit funding bill that includes a quarter-point sales tax increase come April 1. Transit agencies expect the impact on collections will be minimal. By March 17, over 34,000 eligiblie residents had registered for the Seniors Ride Free Program online and by phone.