Parents with a folded stroller boarding a bus with an excited kid

Info for parents with children

Bringing your children with you when you ride CTA is easy, especially if you have a Ventra Card to pay your fare.

Fare basics:

  • Most riders pay a “Full Fare” or ride with full fare passes when using cash, buying disposable Ventra Tickets from a vending machine or a Ventra Card
  • People with special “Reduced Fare” farecards, such as those issued by the RTA for seniors or people with disabilities, pay a “Reduced Fare”
  • Students, on school days when school is in session, can pay a “Student Reduced Fare” (deducted automatically when valid from Student Reduced Fare Ventra Cards)
  • Reduced Fare is also available to children under 12 years-of-age when traveling alone or with an adult
  • Children under 7 (infants up through six-year-olds) ride free when riding with a fare-paying adult
  • See our Fares chart for full information

Traveling with strollers

Children in open strollers are welcome on CTA, however we encourage parents to be considerate of other customers and adhere to these rules when traveling with a stroller.

Keep strollers clear of aisles and doorways aboard buses and trains.

If a bus or train becomes crowded, please fold your stroller to make room for others. Also, if a bus or train is crowded, a CTA employee may ask you to fold your stroller or wait for another vehicle—please follow their instructions. During certain periods of high ridership, we may require that all strollers be folded before you board.

Seniors and riders with disabilities have priority use of the Priority Seating area aboard buses and trains. If these seats are not in use, open strollers may be parked in this area to help you to keep from blocking the aisle. On buses, you may also request use of the access ramp or lift to help you board and exit.

Please yield Priority Seating areas if a rider with a disability, a senior, or a person using a mobility device wishes to board. 

Children in an open stroller should be seated and secured in the stroller before boarding the bus or train. If traveling with an open stroller in a multi-level facility, please use elevators or ramps where available (strollers are never permitted on escalators). On train station platforms, position your stroller parallel to the platform edge (not facing it), use wheel locks/brakes and stay with the stroller at all times.

Paying for children 7-11 years of age

Paying with a Ventra Card

You can pay for kids who qualify for a reduced fare using the very same Ventra Card you use to pay for yourself!

Here’s how:

  1. Ask a bus driver or ‘L’ station attendant to pay a reduced fare for qualifying kids traveling with you. Bus drivers will press a special button or ‘L’ station attendants will touch a special card to the reader to put it in a special mode where the next fare deducted is a reduced fare.
    Fare override screen
  2. When you see the bronze special fare screen (above), touch your card to the reader to pay for the child traveling with you. The correct Reduced Fare will be automatically deducted from your Ventra transit account.

Repeat these two easy steps, as necessary, for each qualifying kid traveling with you.

Note that you should be sure to load transit value to cover the fares of anyone traveling with you (adults and kids, alike), since fares for any additional riders traveling with you are always deducted from the card’s Transit Value balance (regardless of whether or not you’ve loaded a pass for yourself).

A Ventra Card can be used to pay for any combination of up to 7 riders, regardless of whether they're Full Fare or qualifying Reduced Fare riders.

Learn more about paying with Ventra for kids on the Ventra website.

Paying when you don't have a Ventra Card

You can pay in cash on buses or by using contactless bankcards, Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay when you board for a PAYG Reduced Fare.

  • If paying cash on a bus for a reduced fare, simply tell the driver you’re paying a reduced fare and insert exact fare (cash/coin) as instructed. No change will be given.
  • If paying cash at a rail station, see the station attendant for assistance—you’ll be able to deposit fare with the attendant at a vending machine and they can then let you through at the gate.
  • Fare override screenIf paying with contactless bankcards, Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay for a PAYG Reduced Fare, tell the bus operator or train station attendant first so they can set the reader to charge a Reduced Fare before touching your contactless card or payment device.

More information

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