As New School Year Begins, CTA Reminds Students, Parents How to Get Reduced 75-Cent Bus and Train Fares on School Days

August 26, 2014

The Chicago Transit Authority today reminds students and their parents that they are eligible to receive student reduced fares of just 75 cents to ride CTA trains and buses on school days. To get the student rate, parents and students need to take just a few easy steps.

The 75-cent student fare is available for full-time students ages 7–20 for trips to and from regular day classes (at a public, parochial or private elementary or high school). The special fares are available Monday thru Friday, 5:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., on days school is in session with the use of their student Ventra card. When school is not in session, children ages 7-11 receive the reduced rate of $1.10 on rail and $1.00 on the buses, and younger children ride free.

The fare was lowered by 10 cents last year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA President Forrest Claypool to make transit even more affordable for Chicago families. In addition to the 75-cent fares for rides, students pay just 15 cents for up to two transfers within a two-hour window during school hours.

Last Friday, Mayor Emanuel and the CTA announced the transit agency will once again provide students with free CTA bus and train rides on the first day of school, which is Tuesday, September 2. The goal of the “First Day, Free Rides” program, which Mayor Emanuel and the CTA begin in the fall of 2011, is to promote attendance on the first day of school – which sets the tone for the rest of the school year.

As in previous school years, the 75-cent Student Reduced Fare is available with a Ventra card that must be obtained from the school where the child is registered or directly from Ventra via a special online student form available at http://www.transitchicago.com/students/. In order to obtain student fare cards, students should not obtain Ventra cards from vending machines or from retailers who sell Ventra:

Chicago Public Schools:

For new students attending Chicago Public Schools, they will be able to get a student Ventra card from their school administrator. If the student has previously attended CPS and already has a student Ventra card, those students do not need to get a new card – they should use that same card for the new school year. Their school already has their Ventra information and those cards will automatically deduct the correct reduced student fare when the fall session begins.

Private, parochial, charter schools that provide fare cards to students:

Some private and parochial schools will also directly distribute student Ventra cards to enrolled children if those schools have already signed up to distribute Ventra. A list of all schools that directly issue student Ventra cards to enrolled students can be found online at http://www.transitchicago.com/students/.

Private, parochial, charter schools that do not provide fare cards to students:

Students attending private or parochial schools that do not distribute student Ventra cards can download a form online at http://www.transitchicago.com/students/ and bring the form to school to validate the student’s enrollment. After they have received the validation from their school (as proof that they’re eligible for the discounted fare) they can mail the form to Ventra to the address below. Student Ventra cards will be sent to the student’s school for pickup by the student:

Ventra Services
P.O. Box 8291
Chicago, IL 60680 

Personal checks, money orders and
cashier’s checks should be made payable to:
Chicago Transit Authority


The CTA has been working closely with Chicago Public Schools and other schools in order to ensure a seamless transition for the beginning of the new school term. These efforts include a significant outreach effort on the program that includes information for administrators on how schools and students can easily obtain new cards or renew their student discount from the previous school year.

Additionally, CTA will be distributing informational flyers at rail stations to remind parents and students about the how to obtain the student reduced fare.

The CTA recognizes it plays an important role in education, and is committed to providing affordable, reliable and safe transportation to every student rider.

On an average weekday, CTA provides more than 115,000 rides to students and roughly 25.6 million reduced student rides throughout the academic year.

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