March 17, 2008

Seniors Ride Free

cta trainsPeople 65 years old or over can ride free on Chicago's public transportation starting today. The free ride programs include the CTA, Metra, and Pace systems which serve Chicago and its surrounding counties (DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will).

Back in January, legislators agreed to a sales and real-estate-transfer tax hike to help bail out the financially struggling CTA. However, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich wouldn't sign it unless a provision was added: seniors ride for free.

cta reduced fare cardSeniors must have the Senior Reduced Fare Card to take advantage of the free transit. Those who already have a Card are automatically registered. Seniors who do not have a Reduced Fare Card can register at one of the RTA's Customer Service Centers (PDF list of registration sites).

For more information and details, check

Photo credit: CTA


8 comments to Seniors Ride Free

  1. Go Chicago Travel Blog Blog Archive » Seniors Ride Free in Chicago
    March 21st, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    [...] B over at The Chicago Traveler clued us into a new development in Chicago’s public transportation system: senior citizens with a Reduced Fare Card can ride Chicago’s CTA, Meta, and Pace systems for [...]

  2. Dave Lov
    May 12th, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    My Dad has an ID to ride for reduce fair which is now free. He mentioned that the ID will expire in June. Would he need a replacement card? Where can he apply for one near Morton Grove, IL?

  3. Matt B
    May 12th, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    As I understand it, yes, your father would have to go to a registration center in order to renew his permit. A PDF document is available at this link (, listing all of the Registration Centers by their zip code. Or you can call 836-7000 from any area code. Give your zip code to the operator, and they will let you know which location is nearest to you.

  4. Barbara Katona
    July 9th, 2008 at 8:18 am daughter lives in chicago and is a police officer for this great city..I visit often and bring a 74 year old friend from So. Bend, In. Does the senior free ride cover her when there? Thanks for responding.

  5. Matt B
    July 9th, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Senior Citizens aged 65 or over living in the RTA service region (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties) qualify for free transit. However, Senior Citizens aged 65 or over living OUTSIDE the RTA service region (e.g., your friend) still qualify for the reduced fare rate.

    For more information on fares, check the RTA site:

  6. CTA Considers Standing Room Only
    July 18th, 2008 at 6:01 am

    [...] that seniors can ride the CTA for free and with the rising costs of gas, more and more people have been using the city's public transit. [...]

  7. Chicago Links
    September 13th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    [...] in big economic trouble. An editorial at the Chicago Tribune blames Governor Rod Blagojevich: after offering free rides to the city's veterans and elderly, he cut the state funding that the CTA was hoping to fall back [...]

  8. joan kotvan
    February 12th, 2009 at 10:26 pm


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