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Handicap lift on a "Park N Ride" Pace Bus.

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.

Visit the Travel Assistance Digital Library to download documents related to these programs.

Transit Accessibility

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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.

CTA and Pace Buses
CTA Trains

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.

Person on mobility device about to onboard an "On-Demand" Pace bus using a handicap ramp.
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ADA Paratransit

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.

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 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For new, first-time ADA Paratransit applicants:

First-time ADA Paratransit applicants must call the helpline at 312-663-HELP (4357) to begin the process. On this call they will be asked a few screening questions, and a flyer to explain the program in more detail will be mailed to them. The flyer will include a few self-screening questions to help the customer decide if they may be eligible for the service before continuing with the application process.

If the customer wants to continue to the application process after reviewing the flyer, they will call the helpline back at (312) 663-HELP (4357) to schedule an in-person interview appointment. Applicants will be instructed to bring a photo ID to the interview. They may also bring additional information about their disability or health condition(s), but this is not required. Transportation to and from this appointment will be provided at no charge if requested.

During the in-person interview appointment, staff will ask the applicant about their ability to use regular buses and trains on CTA and Pace. Applicants may also be asked to complete a physical assessment that will take about 30 minutes and will give us a better idea of the applicant’s travel abilities and limitations.

For customers who are applying for ADA Paratransit recertification:

When a customer calls the helpline at 312-663-HELP (4357) to renew their certification, they will be scheduled for a 30-minute phone interview. Certification staff will call the applicant at their scheduled appointment time. During this interview, we will ask the applicant screening questions to determine if they continue to be eligible for ADA Paratransit service.  

All ADA Paratransit certification decisions are made within 21 days of the completion of the interview and assessment. If a decision is not made within 21 days, we will provide ADA Paratransit service until a final decision is made. Applicants are notified of their eligibility by letter.

If the applicant is determined to be eligible for ADA Paratransit for some or all trips, they will receive a Certification Letter, a Customer Guide with information about how to use the service, and an RTA ADA Paratransit Permit ID 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).


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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