Among its many provisions, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was intended to ensure equal access to public transportation for people with disabilities. The CTA is currently in compliance with these regulations and continues to seek out ways to incorporate new or upgrade existing accessibility features as part of ongoing capital improvement work.
The following is an overview of the accessible services and features currently available to people with disabilities traveling the CTA bus and rail system.
See also: Accessibility Features Handout (.pdf)
On this page
Bus vehicle features
Since 2005, our entire bus fleet has been accessible to people with disabilities. Although bus models in our fleet
may vary, all are equipped with the following accessible features:
- Ramps at the forward doors
- Designated priority seating and wheelchair securement areas
- Automated voice announcements and accompanying text displayed on LED signs
All CTA rail cars are accessible to people with disabilities. Roughly 50% of our current fleet consists of the new 5000-series rail cars, which offer several new features to help meet the needs of riders with disabilities. Our oldest rail cars, which already have a number of accessibility features eventually will be replaced by the 7000-series which will be designed to meet the latest ADA regulations and are expected to begin arriving as early as 2020.
The following are some of the accessibility features currently available across our rail fleet:
- Accessible doors
- Priority seats and designated wheelchair securement areas, as well as emergency call buttons available within this area
- Exterior and interior automated voice announcements for stops and routes
- Braille signage
- Two interior LED signs displaying automated announcement text (5000-series only)
Rail Station Features
Currently, 99 of our 145 rail stations are accessible, with four more stations either being constructed or reconstructed and made wheelchair accessible by 2018.
In general, during rail service hours, personal support from CTA personnel is available at every rail station. Customer assistance buttons are located in the stationhouse and along the platform and can be used to request assistance. Other accessibility features at rail stations include:
- Audio and Braille equipped fare vending machines (Learn more: Physical Description of Vending Machines)
- Wheelchair accessible fare gates
- Braille station and platform signage
- Elevators and/or ramps
- Tactile platform edging
- Gap filler boards to bridge the space between the platform and the rail car
To help make taking public transit even more convenient, CTA travel tools are available allowing customers to make informed decisions before and during their trip:
- Receive alerts about the status of elevators systemwide or at your preferred station(s) through free subscription text/email service
- More than 350 bus shelters equipped with CTA Bus Tracker digital displays and audio buttons throughout the service region
- Estimated train arrival times accessible online, via text or through the Ventra app
Reduced and Ride Free Program Fare Cards
For qualified riders with disabilities, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) offers a Reduced Fare Permit, which offers CTA fares and transfers at a discounted rate. To learn more or apply, call RTA at 312-913-3110 (voice) or 312-836-4949 (TTY).
Rides are free on CTA buses and trains for any Illinois resident with a disability and enrolled in the Benefit Access Program. Information about this program is available by calling the Department on Aging at 1-800-252-8966 (voice) or 1-888-206-1327 (TTY) or by visiting www.illinois.gov/aging.
Learn more about Reduced Fare and Free Ride Programs.
Reasonable Modification Requests
CTA makes reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, and procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, subject to limitations listed below.
CTA may deny a request for a reasonable modification on one or more of the following grounds:
- Granting the request would fundamentally alter the nature of CTA’s services, programs, or activities;
- Granting the request would create a direct threat to the health or safety of others;
- Without the requested modification, the individual with a disability is able to fully use the entity’s services, programs, or activities for their intended purpose; or,
- Granting the request would result in in an undue financial or administrative burden to the CTA.
Requests for reasonable modifications may be submitted by contacting CTA’s Customer Service Department in any of the following ways:
- By e-mail, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- By phone, call 1-888-YOUR CTA (1-888-968-7282) (voice) or 1-888-CTA-TTY1 (1-888-882-8891) (TTY).