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Public Transit a Great Option for Students Heading Back to Class

August 31, 2015

22 RTA 0646

studentsStudents across the RTA region are heading back to school and for many, public transportation is the best way to get back to the classroom.  Public transportation can be the most convenient and economical way to get to and from school and extra-curricular activities.

Asher B., a junior at a CPS college prep high school, knows this routine all too well. He will be among thousands of students who will board either a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus or train, Metra train or Pace bus this school year when the doors open next week.  Asher has been taking the CTA “L” from his Lakeview neighborhood since his freshman year. This year, his brother Oliver B., a freshman, will join him.

“They enjoy the independence of coming and going on their own and it takes less time to get to school by public transportation than if I were to drive them,” said Lauren T., the boys’ mother.

As students, Asher and Oliver can take advantage of the CTA’s 75 cents student fare. And for an additional 15 cents, they can transfer up to two CTA buses or trains within a two hour limit of their first ride.  These rates are honored between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. and with a valid student Ventra card.

“Regional students and parents are fortunate to have access to our excellent public transportation system that provides students with safe and affordable transportation,” said RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden.  “With the increasing number of young people depending on our transit system to get to and from school, it’s good to know that CTA, Metra and Pace offer discounted pricing to this next generation of riders who so appreciate and value the importance of our transit system.”

The CTA offers other discounted passes, including the U-Pass permit that offers unlimited rides to full-time college students on their buses and trains.  The CTA recently announced its fifth annual "First Day, Free Rides,” initiative. CPS students and an accompanying adult can enjoy a free ride on the first day of school.

Metra continues to offer discounts to student riders aged 7 to 11 or half-priced fares during the weekday and those under 6 years old ride for free with an accompanying fare-paying adult.  Full-time students enrolled in an accredited grade school or high school can receive a discount on their fare if they have a student ID or letter of certification from their school.

Discounted tickets are honored daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., leaving room for students to participate in after-school activities. This year, Metra reached out to area colleges and universities, offering information that will help students learn how to use our transit system. Colleges and universities near Metra Stations benefit from personalized schedules and Metra continues to offer a range of materials and support.

Pace also offers discounted fares to students. The Pace Reduced 30-Day Pass is $30 and allows students unlimited rides on Pace buses.  In addition, Pace provides a Campus Connection pass that provides unlimited rides to college students throughout the semester. Both passes are valid for travel on Pace Regular Fare routes, or on Premium Fare routes with a surcharge.

Learn more about student fares on the region’s transit system by visiting

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