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The Wheels on the Bus (and Train) Go Round and Round...

August 26, 2016

Back to school collage

Oliver and Asher (left) take the CTA to school; Dakota (right) boards a Metra train when it's time to hit the books.

Remember that yellow school bus? For some "student commuters" in the RTA region, that "bus" (or train) is operated by CTA, Metra or Pace.  The next generation of commuters in the RTA region is heading back to school and for some, our region's transit system is the ride of choice.  Good news mom and dad:  students can receive a discount on their transit “commute” to and from school.  (Scroll down to the end of this post for more details.)

Asher B., a senior at a CPS college prep high school, knows this routine all too well. Asher has been taking the CTA ‘L’ from his Lakeview neighborhood since his freshman year. His brother Oliver B., a sophomore, is “on the same track,” following in his footsteps.

“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.

Likewise, 10th grader Dakota J. often takes the Metra Electric line for his short trek to school in Hyde Park.  His mother (a member of the RTA family) reports that even though Dakota could “almost walk to school,” on days when the weather is bad, “Metra is a perfect option.”

We know the millennial generation relies heavily on public transportation and for some, it's the reason they choose to live and work in Chicago.  It's good to see the next generation of riders (Generation Z!) also understands the value of our system.   Plus, these discounted fare programs make riding an affordable alternative.

Transit Agency Student Discount Fare Information, 2016-17 School Year

The CTA will provide free rides to CPS students and accompanying adults as part of its sixth annual "First Day, Free Rides,” initiative on the first day of school for Chicago Public Schools. The CTA continues to offer U-Pass permit that offers unlimited rides to full-time college students at schools that elect to participate in CTA’s U-Pass program.

Metra continues to offer discounts to student riders aged 7 to 11 or half-price 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. Metra also offers area colleges and universities various support to help raise awareness about public transit options throughout the region. Colleges and universities can choose personalized materials, transit events and more--all provided on a complimentary basis.

Pace offers a Reduced Fare 30-Day Pass that costs $30 and allows students unlimited rides on Pace buses.  Pace also offers 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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