Chicago, IL

Riders Who Qualify For CTA's Reduced Fare or Free Ride Programs

Lashaunta Moore

Some Chicago public transportation riders like students, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and active military personnel, qualify for the programs.

The CTA is the most used form of transportation in Chicago, seeing hundreds of thousands of riders use its services weekly. With the cost of living increasing, it's essential to know that CTA has both reduced fare and free ride programs available to individuals who qualify.

Some riders, like students under seven with a paying passenger ride free, and students under 20, with a valid Student Ventra Card, pay a reduced fare of $0.75. The free ride program allows active military personnel, seniors, and people with disabilities to ride for free. Here's how this all works.

Reduced Fare Programs

Children ages 7-11

Each child pays a reduced fare ($1.10 for buses and $1.25 for trains with transfers), but the ride is free if they are under seven and with a paying passenger. Make sure to tell the operator or station attendant.

Student Reduced Fare: ages 7-20

The Student Reduced Fare is separate from the regular Reduced Fare and valid on school days between 5:30 am and 8:30 pm. Students 20 & younger are eligible with a valid Student Ventra Card.
($0.75 Student Reduced Fare) It includes up to 2 transfers within 2 hours, and Student Ventra Cards are required.

To get a Ventra card for a student, visit Transit Chicago's website. Non-CPS students can apply by mail.

College Students

College students aren't eligible for a reduced fare, but U-Pass programs at specific institutions allow them to ride for free. U-Passes are for one individual actively enrolled in school during a semester.

RTA Reduced Fare Permits

This fare program is for seniors, Medicare recipients, and people with disabilities.

If you're 65 or older, are a medicare card holder, or have a disability, you are eligible for an RTA reduced fare permit. You can travel with reduced fares on CTA, Pace, and Metra services.

Visit RTA's website or call (312) 913-3110 to apply for the RTA Permit.

Free Ride Program

Military Service Pass

Active U.S. military personnel in full uniform and qualifying disabled veterans with a Military Service Pass may ride free on CTA buses and trains. Visit the service center ( 567 W. Lake St) on select days of the month to apply.

Seniors and people with disabilities

Seniors aged 65 or older: If you are an Illinois resident and currently enrolled in the Illinois Department on Aging's Benefit Access Program, you are eligible for complimentary transit.

Suppose you are an Illinois resident registered in the Illinois Department on Aging's Benefit Access Program as a person with a disability. In that case, you are eligible for complimentary transit as well.

If you are searching for scholarship grants to continue your education, see if you qualify for a Community Service Block Grant scholarship.

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