How-To Guide: Buying Fares
CTA offers a variety of fare payment options to suit your needs. Fares are paid using "farecards" which store cash value for use on CTA buses and trains; fares are deducted from farecards as you go. We also offer passes, which are good for unlimited riding within the time period specified on the pass.
There are several ways to pay:
- Chicago Card Plus
Faster boarding, card automatically reloads itself when low; buy online.
- Chicago Card
Faster boarding, reload manually at stations or designated locations; buy online or at various locations.
- Transit Card
Easy boarding, card stores cash value; buy at stations or locations around town.
Unlimited rides for the period of time shown on the card (ranges from 1-day to 30-day cards).
Can be used on buses only; transfer privileges are not available with cash (buy Transit Card at train stations).
Chicago Card Plus
With Chicago Card Plus, your fares are stored in an online account. When paying your fare, simply wave your card past a Chicago Card reader on buses or at the rail station turnstile and go!
Your card can function as either a pay-per-use or a 30-day unlimited ride pass.
Additionally, if your card is lost or stolen, it can be replaced.
Get full details about Chicago Card Plus at http://www.chicago-card.com.
With Chicago Card, your fares are stored on the card and are deducted as you use it. Value is added manually at CTA train stations or at a variety of "Touch-n-Go" locations across the region.
All stations have Transit Card Vending Machines. The machines accept cash/coin only and do not give change--insert only what you wish to put on the card. As an added convenience, some stations also have Express Vending Machines where you can pay with any major credit card or ATM/debit cards.
If your card is registered with CTA, your fares are protected against loss or theft and can be replaced.
Learn about Chicago Card at http://www.chicago-card.com/cc.
Transit Cards are farecards that store value which you add at vending machines located at CTA train stations and various locations around town. You can also buy pre-loaded Transit Cards at a number of drug stores and currency exchanges.
All stations have Transit Card Vending Machines. The machines accept cash/coin only and do not give change--insert only what you wish to put on the card. Many stations also have Express Vending Machines where you can pay with any major credit card.
Transit Cards are also accepted on Pace.
Locations where Transit Cards are available
CTA offers 1-day and multi-day passes that allow unlimited rides for the specified time. A 7-Day Pass, for example, allows you unlimited riding for seven full days from the first time you use the card.
Passes are available at dozens of retail locations around town, as well as at selected train stations with special CTA Pass Vending Machines.
Special free ride passes are also available for eligible riders. (See Reduced Fare & Free Ride Programs.)
Complete fare chart (shows all available passes)
Locations where passes are available
If haven't already bought a fare card, you can also pay with cash on buses--exact fare is required (bus drivers do not give change). You cannot purchase a transfer when paying in cash (farecards are required for transfer).
If you're boarding a train, turnstiles do not accept cash or coins--but you can buy a Transit Card at every station.