The cash-strapped Chicago Transit Authority has cut the number of company cars that its employees can take home. The number has dropped from 68 last June to four in December.

In addition, the cars that are left are no longer provided for free, and the employees now also have to pay for gas. Employees who use the cars must pay $185 of the $718 monthly lease charge, and the employees did not have to pay for gas under the old system.

Employees with take-home car authorization are CTA President Richard Rodriguez -- who makes his car available as a pool car -- and three facilities maintenance managers.

Most of the other cars are being used as pool cars. Some lease applications are in the pipeline. Some staffers may apply for company cars after being promoted to fill the positions of managers who retired at the end of the year.

Rodriguez had already been looking to reform the company car policy since at least this past June. The CTA says some employees need cars because they are on call around the clock.

Maintenance and fuel for all 769 "non-revenue" CTA vehicles, including take-home cars, cost the agency slightly more than $4 million in 2008.