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Accessible transit

The RTA is committed to a transit system that is accessible for all riders regardless of ability. This page includes information about how the transit system is accessible, how to apply for certification for ADA Paratransit services, and how to learn to use the system and achieve travel independence.

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How accessible is our region’s transit system?

Watch a video to learn about accessibility features on the region’s transit system or explore below to find out more.

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ADA Paratransit

ADA paratransit is a shared ride, advanced reservation, origin-to-destination transportation service for individuals who, because of their disability, are unable to use CTA or Pace fixed route transit service for some or all of their trip. Pace operates ADA Paratransit service for the entire RTA region.

ADA Paratransit users must make a reservation the day before a trip. Services operate the same days and hours as the fixed route services available in the area. It is important to note that ADA Paratransit services are comparable to fixed route and only operate within three-quarters of a mile of CTA or Pace fixed route bus routes or CTA 'L' train stations. If an area does not have fixed route service, there will be no ADA Paratransit service in that area.

Learn more about the ADA Paratransit Certification Appeals Eligibility Review Board.

For more information on how to use ADA accessible fixed route buses and trains on CTA, Metra and Pace, watch the below video:


Paratransit Certification

Individuals who are interested in using ADA Paratransit service must apply and be found eligible according to ADA guidelines. The RTA handles ADA Paratransit Certification for the entire Chicago region to determine an individual's functional ability to use fixed route services.

To apply for ADA Paratransit, call the RTA's ADA Paratransit Certification program at 312-663-HELP (4357) between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to request an application. Applications are available in regular or large print English and Spanish, in Braille, and on CD or audiotape.

Once you have filled out as much of the application as you can, call the RTA's ADA Paratransit Certification program at 312-663-HELP (4357) to schedule an in-person interview at one of our two Interview and Assessment sites. If requested, we will provide transportation to the interview and the services of an American Sign Language or Spanish interpreter at no charge. Please bring the filled-out application and a photo ID with you to the interview. You may also bring additional information about your disability or health condition, but this is not required.

During the interview, we will review your application form and if necessary, help you complete it. We will also discuss with you your travel abilities and limitations in more detail. You may be asked to take a "mock" bus trip. This will take about 30 to 45 minutes and will give us a better idea of your travel abilities and limitations. Please dress for the weather as you may be asked to go outside.

A decision will be made on your application within 21 days of the completion of the interview and assessment. If a decision is not made within 21 days, we will provide you with ADA Paratransit service until a final decision is made. You will be notified of your eligibility by letter.

If you are determined to be eligible for ADA Paratransit for some or all of your trips, you will receive a Certification Letter, a Customer Guide with information about how to use the service, and an RTA ADA Paratransit Card.

Types of Eligibility

There are three types of eligibility:

Unconditional Eligibility - Your disability or health condition always prevents you from using fixed route buses or 'L' trains and you qualify for ADA Paratransit service for all of your trips.

Conditional Eligibility - You are able to use the fixed route buses or 'L' trains for some of your trips and qualify for ADA Paratransit service for other trips when your disability or environmental barriers prevent the use of fixed route transit service.

Temporary Eligibility - You have a health condition or disability that temporarily prevents you from using the fixed route buses or 'L' trains.

Appeal Process


If you have received conditional eligibility, temporary eligibility, or ineligible, you will be notified of the exact reason for this decision. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to appeal.

You can appeal any eligibility decision made by the RTA that limits your ability to use ADA Paratransit service. For example:

  • You were found "Not Eligible" for ADA Paratransit
  • You were found "Conditionally Eligible" and disagree with the eligibility categories you were given or you think the conditional status is wrong.
  • The eligibility granted was “Temporary Disability” and you disagree that your eligibility is temporary.

All requests for an appeal must be in writing and should be mailed to:

RTA ADA Certification Appeals Program
Regional Transportation Authority
175 W. Jackson Blvd.
Suite 1550
Chicago, IL 60604

If you have any questions about the appeal process, call the RTA's ADA Paratransit Certification program at 312-663-HELP (4357).

Visitors

If you are traveling to the RTA region and need to use ADA paratransit service while visiting, contact Pace Customer Service at (312) 341-8000 and provide information on the dates you will be visiting.

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Mobility Education

To help our region’s customers with disabilities and older adults use public transit, the RTA offers free services, including: transit orientation presentations for groups, information assistance at outreach events and resource fairs, and one-on-one travel training to individuals in their communities.

To schedule individual travel training, call (312) 913-3120 or email TravelTraining@RTAChicago.org. To schedule a presentation to a group, call 312-913-3126.

Individual Travel Training

If you are an older adult or a person with a disability and want to learn more about taking accessible CTA, Metra, and Pace public transit, the RTA's Travel Training Program may be for you. During your free one-on-one sessions, you will meet with a professional Travel Trainer from the RTA who:

  • Has experience with older adults and people with disabilities
  • Can explain accessibility features on transportation (ramps, lifts, signage, etc.)
  • Teaches you how to use the public transit system
  • Assists you with planning your trip
  • Accompanies you while you are learning your trip
  • Is certified in Orientation & Mobility, for participants who are blind or have low-vision

RTA Travel Training Brochure

RTA Folleto de Capacitación para Viajes

Call 312-913-3120 or email TravelTraining@RTAChicago.org for more information and to request Travel Training.

Group Transit Orientation Presentations

If you are part of a group of older adults or people with disabilities who would like information on accessible transportation options, then the RTA Group Transit Orientation presentation may be right for you.

Presentations inform audience members, including agency staff, about the accessibility of CTA, Metra, Pace, and their local transit options, and demonstrate the benefits of using public transportation. Topics are customized to each audience, and may include:

CTA, Metra and Pace Accessibility Features, Accessible Trip Planning, RTA Ride Free and Reduced Fare Programs, Ventra Cards, Travel Safety Tips, Local Transit Options,
RTA's Free Travel Training Program

  • CTA, Metra, and Pace accessibility features
  • Accessible trip planning
  • RTA Ride Free and Reduced Fare programs
  • Ventra cards
  • Travel safety tips
  • Local transit options
  • RTA's free Travel Training program

RTA Group Transit Orientation Brochure

Folleto de Orientación de Tránsito Grupal

Call RTA's Mobility Management Program at 312-913-3203 or email TravelTraining@RTAChicago.org to schedule a free presentation or request more information.

Mobility Outreach

Watch the RTA Mobility Management Video Series for more tips on how to ride transit in the Chicago region.

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