Your guide to getting around
This page provides detailed information about the contactless Ventra™ U-Pass and how to get the most out of it.
About your U-Pass
Here are the basics about how U-Pass works:
- Your U-Pass provides you unlimited rides on the CTA during your enrollment as a full-time student in a participating institution.
(The unlimited riding your U-Pass provides is on CTA buses and trains, only. To use your U-Pass to ride Pace buses, load transit value or passes valid for your trip on Pace.)
- Your card is a contactless card—tap it to the Ventra reader to pay your fare. (Don't insert it into fare equipment—you'll lose it and need to pay for a replacement.)
- Your pass is good for four years (hold onto it). Your card will work across multiple school terms over its life, and also works when you’re not in school as a regular Ventra Card for full fare and/or full fare passes. (You won’t get a new one with each school session or year.)
- As long as you’re enrolled full-time in school, your U-Pass privileges are loaded onto your card automatically by your school and good for the length of your session.
- Add passes and transit value for:
- Riding CTA when school is not in session or when you do not qualify as a full-time student.
- Riding Pace, year-round.
- To pay for others who are traveling with you, as additional riders, on the same card. (You can bring up to six additional people with you.)
Using your U-Pass between semesters (or otherwise not in school full-time)
Between semesters (or if you change to a part-time schedule, leave school, etc.), your Ventra U-Pass card will continue to function as a regular Ventra Card on CTA & Pace, by deducting fares from Ventra Transit Value, and even transit passes (3-Day, 7-Day, etc.).
There’s no need to get a separate card for when you’re not attending school full-time—you just load & go! Here's how:
- Your U-Pass card automatically switches to working like a regular Ventra Card when you’re not in session. When you use your card when school isn’t in session, regular fares and transfers are deducted. You can load value onto your card at any Ventra Vending Machine, at hundreds of Ventra Retail Locations, over the phone, or at www.ventrachicago.com. When you’re back in school full time, U-Pass riding privileges become available again, automatically, at the start of the session.
- Don’t throw your card away. Your card is good for four years from when it was issued—you just keep using the same card through multiple years.
- Register your card at ventrachicago.com to manage your account online.
- You can add value for fare or regular full-fare passes online for when you’re traveling offseason.
- You can even configure autoload to maintain a minimum transit value balance of $10. (This can be useful even during the school year, since you can use your card to pay for other riders who are traveling with you, as well as to pay fare on Pace suburban buses.)
- Please note: Your Ventra Transit Account must be in good standing prior to your next qualifying term for U-Pass privileges. Check your transit balance on ventrachicago.com (including from a mobile browser), at vending machines or by phone.
U-Pass replacement, rules and regulations
As you begin to use your U-Pass, please be aware of the following rules for being a U-Pass cardholder.
- Handle your card carefully. There is a replacement fee if your card stops working as a result of abuse.
- Your U-Pass is for your use only and cannot be transferred or sold. If this rule is violated, we reserve the right to confiscate the card and prohibit you from having a U-Pass for a full year, and/ or press criminal charges.
- If your card is lost, stolen or damaged (due to abuse, misuse, etc.), visit your school’s U-Pass administrator to complete a report and request a new card. A non-refundable replacement fee ($50) will be collected for a lost/stolen card.
- If your card is defective, we can replace it. The first replacement is free, though subsequent replacements will be billed back to you ($4.97). The defective card must be returned through your school.
Getting the most out of your U-Pass
Getting started with your Ventra Transit Account is easy. Below are some helpful hints and details.
- Register your Ventra U-Pass to protect purchased passes and transit value by visiting our website at ventrachicago.com or by calling 1-877-NOW-VENTRA
- Full fare passes and transit value for the CTA and Pace can be added online, or by phone, at Ventra vending machines, and at all participating Ventra retail locations
Note: Your Ventra U-Pass permit can be used for transit only; there is no prepaid debit option available.
Adler School of Professional Psychology
American Academy of Art
Chicago-Kent College of Law
Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Chicago State University
Columbia College Chicago
Harold Washington College
Harrington College of Design
Illinois Institute of Art
Illinois Institute of Technology
- Graduate School of Business
International Academy of Design & Technology
The John Marshall Law School
- Graduate Business
- Water Tower
- Lake Shore
Malcolm X College
Moody Bible Institute
Northeastern Illinois University
- Feinberg School of Medicine
- School of Law
- Medill School of Journalism
- School of Physical Therapy
- Graduate School
- McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science
Robert Morris University
Rush University College of Health Sciences
Rush University Medical College
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Taylor Business Institute
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
Vandercook College of Music