Who Qualifies for Free or Reduced Fare Rides?

  • Free or reduced fare rides are available for qualifying military personnel in the RTA's service region of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The free or reduced fare rides are provided on fixed-route service by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace
  • Qualifications vary among transit providers. Please view the transit provider you are using for the applicable conditions


Uniformed military personnel may board CTA buses and trains for a free ride. You should see the rail station customer assistant or bus operator for your free ride. Qualifying disabled veterans and active duty military personnel not in uniform must present a valid CTA Military Service Pass (MSP) in order to ride free on CTA buses and trains. MSP is not valid on Pace or Metra.

Who is eligible for the CTA Military Service Pass?

  • Chicago area active duty military personnel and actively drilling members of the National Guard and Reserves who possess an Armed Forces ID card or a member of the Coast Guard with appropriate identification.
  • Chicago area disabled veterans who have a qualifying service-connected disability and can provide proof that:
  1. You are in receipt of United States Department of Veterans' Affairs (USDVA) disability compensation of 10% or greater; or
  2. You are receiving military disability retirement pay in lieu of USDVA compensation at a rate of 10% or greater.

To obtain a CTA MSP, visit:
Ventra Service Center
567 W. Lake St., Second Floor
Chicago, IL 60661
Hours: Monday – Friday; 8:00am to 4:30pm


Military personnel presenting their proper military identification indicating they are on active duty will receive the reduced rate for a one-way fare or the reduced rate for ten-ride tickets. The discount does not apply to monthly tickets. Military personnel must see a ticket agent or on-board personnel for their reduced fare. These privileges are extended to all branches of the military; Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy. A special military fare from Great Lakes to Chicago is $2 for military personnel in uniform.

Veterans with disabilities are ineligible to ride at a reduced rate on Metra. Anyone with a disability or over the age of 65, may apply for an RTA Reduced Fare or Ride Free permit.


Uniformed active duty U.S. Military personnel qualify for a free ride. Military personnel in uniform must see the bus operator for their free ride. Disabled veterans are ineligible to ride for free on Pace, unless an RTA Ride Free permits is presented. See information in "Commonly Asked Questions" for information regarding reduced fare or ride free eligibility.

Commonly Asked Questions

1. I am retired from the military. Am I eligible for free or reduced fare rides?

No. Only active duty military personnel and disabled veterans who have a qualifying service-connected disability (as outlined in this brochure) are eligible for free rides on the CTA and Pace and reduced fare rides on Metra. However, if you are disabled or 65 years of age or older, and enrolled in the State of Illinois Benefit Access Program, you are eligible for the RTA Ride Free Program. Seniors and disabled individuals not enrolled in the Benefit Access Program are eligible for the RTA Reduced Fare Program. Contact the RTA at 312-836-7000 or go to www.RTAchicago.com/fare-programs for details.

2. I am a disabled veteran under 65 years old and don't qualify for the CTA's Military Service Pass. Am I eligible for reduced fare rides?

Possibly. Disabled Veterans who qualify for the RTA Reduced Fare Program must apply for the Reduced Fare Card. The Reduced Fare Card allows qualified disabled veterans to ride at approximately half the full fare on CTA buses and trains, Metra trains and Pace buses in the six-county RTA service area. For more information, call 312-836-7000 or visit www.RTAchicago.com/fare-programs. You can also apply in person. Call 312-913-3110 to find a site near you. 


Should military personnel or disabled veterans have any questions or experience any problems obtaining a free or reduced fare ride, please contact customer service at the appropriate agency below.

CTA Customer Service
TTY: 1-888-282-8891

Metra Passenger Service

Pace Passenger Service

RTA Customer Service