CTA - Chicago Transit Authority
Riding the Train

How-to Guide: Riding the train

CTA's train system is known as the 'L' (a now-official name originally short for "elevated"). 

Trains serve over 140 stations located throughout the city and nearby suburbs, on elevated railways, in subways, or on the ground.


  1. photo: first, pay fare at turnstilesEnter the station and pay fare.
    When you enter a train station, you can pay your fare at the turnstile or gate. Simply touch your Ventra Card, Ventra Ticket or contactless bankcard to the reader on the top of every turnstile.

    Every station has Ventra Vending Machines if you need to buy or load fare. Ventra Cards can store value for regular cards and unlimited-ride passes.
  2. photo: follow signs that lead you to the train you needMake your way to the boarding area.
    Stations have maps and signs to help you find your way. Follow signs to the boarding area for your train. Once at the platform, wait near the signs that indicate where trains stop.
  3. photo: note train destination sign and board the train you desireBoard.
    When the train arrives, note the train's route and destination. A Blue Line train to O'Hare will say "O'Hare" on a blue background on the front and inside the center, side window, for example.

    Enjoy the ride!




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Phone: 1-888-YOUR-CTATTY: 1-888-CTA-TTY1Website: transitchicago.com