Poster inside rail car with essential travel tips

Tips & info


On this page:

•  What's new
      -- Free face masks
      -- Hand sanitizer dispenser pilot
APTA Health & Safety Commitment 
•  Travel tips
•  Education & awareness efforts
      -- System signage
      -- Travel Healthy kits
•  More info
•  Customer communications during COVID-19


What's new

Free face masks system-wide

New disposable face mask dispenser installed on a CTA bus

Following a successful pilot (more info) along select bus routes, we've expanded the availability of free, disposable masks across our entire bus and rail system to help ensure we continue to provide everyone with a safe and healthy travel environment.

Every bus now provides free face masks, which are available at the front of the vehicle, near where customers board. Each day prior to leaving the garage for service, buses are stocked with free, disposable face masks. Although every effort is made to replenish the supply/dispensers throughout the day, it is possible masks will run out in the middle of the route.

Free face masks are also available upon request at the Customer Assistant booth located at each of our 145 rail stations.  

Hand sanitizer dispenser pilot

New hand sanitizer dispensers being piloted at the Fullerton Red/Brown/Purple line station.

New wall-mounted and foot-activated hand sanitizer dispensers at the Fullerton Red/Brown/Purple line station

We recognize that regular hand cleaning with the use of hand sanitizer is one of the easiest practices that riders can follow to stay healthy while riding our system. In continuation of our ongoing efforts to provide you with a safe and healthy travel experience, we’ve installed new hand sanitizer dispensers at the following eight rail stations:

  • 95th/Dan Ryan (Red Line)
  • Clark/Lake (Loop)
  • O’Hare (Blue Line)
  • Midway (Orange Line)
  • Polk (Pink Line)
  • Harlem/Lake (Green Line)
  • Fullerton (Red/Brown/Purple lines)
  • Howard (Red/Purple/Yellow lines)

Each location will feature at least one large, five gallon foot-activated dispenser, plus one wall mounted, hand pump dispenser for customers using mobility devices. 

This pilot is the latest in a series of initiatives we’ve implemented to make sure you feel safe while traveling our buses and trains, including: distribution of 25,000+ Travel Healthy Kits; bus crowding management; bus and train capacity limits; and an upgraded bus and rail ridership dashboard to help customers to better prepare for trips on our buses and trains aiming to avoid traveling during heavy ridership periods. 


APTA Health & Safety Commitment

APTA_Task_Force_Seal_DIGITAL_Seal_BlackCTA has earned the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Health & Safety Commitment seal—recognizing our efforts of fulfilling the highest industry commitments for keeping transit safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developed by Washington, D.C.-based APTA through its Mobility Recovery & Restoration Task Force, the Health & Safety Commitments program outlines responsibilities for transit agencies and their customers to provide a healthy and safe transit environment. The responsibilities include:

  • Following public health guidelines from official sources
  • Protecting each other by requiring face coverings and other protection
  • Keeping passengers informed and empowered to choose the safest times and routes to ride
  • Putting health first by requiring riders and employees to avoid public transit if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or feel ill


Travel tips

Our vast system operates 24/7, and as a customer, there are many things you can do to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, including the following:

  • Proper use/wearing of a face mask or covering is required at all times when on CTA properties (per federal and state mandate)
  • Keep your distance: Stagger seating seating and spread out where possible
  • Avoid crowded vehicles: 
    • Move to another rail car
    • Wait for the next bus/train
    • Use the Ridership Dashboard tool(s) to avoid crowded travel conditions
  • Use a contactless payment option to board (i.e. Ventra Card, mobile app and/or contactless bankcards)
  • Wash your hands before/after traveling
  • Limit touching surfaces (i.e. seat backs, stanchion bars or handles)

And as a reminder, health authorities recommend the following at all times:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Stay home when you are sick

Education & awareness efforts

System signage

As part of our ongoing efforts to encourage everyone to continue practicing coronavirus safety measures, we've placed new circular floor decals at some stations urging social distancing. We've also expanded signage at stations and in vehicles urging the use of masks when taking public transit.

The new decals, which feature the message, “Be safe! Make a space!” in both English and Spanish, are evenly spaced along all platforms. Decals have also been placed throughout stationhouses near Ventra vending machines and in elevators.

New social distancing dots and healthy travel signs


Travel healthy kits

Contents of CTA's Travel Healthy Kits (v2.0)

To help promote a safe travel environment, we've held numerous events throughout the system to distribute our free CTA Travel Healthy Kits (THKs). Each kit contains a reusable cloth mask, a 2 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer and a healthy travel tips guide. So far, we've distributed more than nearly 30,000 kits.


More info

  • Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH)
  • Center for Disease Control and  Prevention (CDC)
  • Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)

Customer communications during COVID-19

Ongoing collection of creatives we've used throughout the pandemic to keep you informed.