Here are some frequently asked questions about accessibility on CTA:
How does the Americans with Disabilities Act affect CTA’s transit services?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted on July 26, 1990. Among its many provisions, this civil rights act is intended to ensure equal access for people with disabilities to public transportation.
CTA is a fixed route transit service provider. This means that its buses and trains operate along set routes according to fixed schedules. The ADA requires that all new vehicles purchased for general fixed route public transportation service be accessible to people with disabilities.
What are the accessibility features of CTA’s buses?
CTA’s entire bus fleet is accessible to people with disabilities.
All of CTA’s buses are capable of “kneeling,” thereby lowering the bus. All the buses also have ramps at the forward doors, priority seats, and wheelchair securement areas. These features ease boarding and riding the bus for people with mobility and other disabilities.
Braille signage and automated voice announcements—both interior and exterior—help make stop, route and other information accessible to people who are blind or have low vision. And the LED signage on CTA’s buses enables people who are deaf or have low hearing to have access to this same essential information.
What are the accessibility features of CTA’s trains?
All of our trains provide space for wheelchairs. The vast majority of CTA’s rail cars have a designated wheelchair securement area and ADA-compliant doors. All of our rail cars have Braille signage, priority seats, and both interior and exterior stop and route automated voice announcements.
CTA is in the process of introducing its new 5000-series railcars to the fleet. These state-of-the-art rail cars feature not one, but two wheelchair areas per car and LED signage at both ends to present visual cues. CTA will be able to begin retirement of the last of its non-accessible railcars once a sufficient quantity of new cars are in service.
Are there any restrictions on the kind of mobility device I can use on the buses and trains?
All of CTA’s buses and most of CTA’s rail cars were built in accordance with ADA requirements. The ramps on CTA buses and wheelchair spaces on both our buses and rail cars are designed to accommodate either a manual or a powered wheelchair.
Under the U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines, a wheelchair is any “mobility aid belonging to any class of three- or more-wheeled devices, usable indoors, designed or modified for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered." CTA vehicles will carry any wheelchair and its user as long as the bus ramp can accommodate the size and weight of the wheelchair and its user, and there is space on the bus or rail car.
Are CTA’s train stations accessible to people with mobility impairments?
Today, 94 of CTA’s 145 stations (65%) are accessible by ADA-compliant elevators or ramps. All stations have gap fillers to bridge the space between the platform and the rail car. In addition, rail stations have customer assistants available at many hours to assist customers with disabilities.
By the end of 2013, it's expected that 97 of 145 rail stations will be accessible because of the planned rehabilitation of three Red Line stations: Garfield, 63rd and 87th.
CTA continues to plan further accessibility initiatives for its stations.
Are there discounted fares available for people with disabilities?
Yes. The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) offers a Reduced Fare Permit to people with disabilities. With a Reduced Fare permit, you can ride CTA buses or trains at a discount. The reduced fare also applies to transfers. A Reduced Fare Permit allows the permit holder to ride at the reduced fare. Call RTA at 312-913-3110 (voice) or 312-836-4949 (TTY) to apply.
Rides are free on CTA buses and trains for any Illinois resident over age 16 who has been enrolled as a person with a disability in the Illinois Circuit Breaker program. Individuals who are enrolled still must apply for the RTA-issued “Circuit Permit.” Information about the Illinois Circuit Breaker program is available at 1-800-252-8966 (voice) or 1-888-206-1327 (TTY).
How do I report a complaint, pay a compliment or make a suggestion to CTA about disability-related matters?
By e-mail, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 1-888-YOUR CTA (1-888-968-7282) (voice) or 1-888-CTA-TTY1 (1-888-882-8891) (TTY).