Mayor Lightfoot and CTA Announce the Return of ‘First Day, Free Rides’ Program for Chicago Area Students (K-12) Returning to In-Person Classes

August 11, 2021

CTA’s popular free rides program sponsored by Chicagoland based Butcher Boy Cooking Oils helps encourage student attendance and academic success


As Chicago students return to the classroom for the 2021-2022 school year, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announce the ‘First Day, Free Rides’ program for K-12 students. The CTA has partnered with Butcher Boy Cooking Oils to provide free CTA bus and train rides to all Chicago-area elementary and high school students, as well their accompanying adult, on the first day of the Chicago Public Schools’ school year – Monday, August 30.

"Every student I've heard from is eager to get back into the classroom and offering them free CTA rides on their first day is a great way to build on their enthusiasm," said Mayor Lightfoot. "We are beyond excited to have our students back in school, focused and ready to succeed after all they and their families have endured over the past 18 months. I want to thank the CTA and Butcher Boy Cooking Oils for sharing this excitement and supporting our young people as they kick off the new school year."

The “First Day, Free Rides” program is an esteemed back-to-school tradition for Chicago students. In 2019, the program provided approximately 106,000 free rides to students and their parents or guardians. Since the program’s debut ten years ago, more than 1.1 million free rides have been provided for Chicago area students.

“We are excited to help Chicago students return safely to the classroom and we greatly appreciate Chicagoland-based Butcher Boy Cooking Oils for their partnership with this program,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “It’s important that our students know that they can still rely on CTA for a reliable, comfortable and affordable trip to school as they come back after participating in school virtually for such a long time.”  

Students (and accompanying adults) are reminded that per federal mandate, properly worn masks are required at all times while on CTA buses, trains, stations/platforms – regardless of one’s vaccination status. For those who may have lost, forgotten or damaged their masks while in transit, the CTA currently provides free disposable masks on all buses and at all rail stations.

For the entire academic school year, students can take advantage of discounted fares of 75 cents on school days, between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Beyond school hours, elementary students, ages 7-11, are eligible for reduced fares of $1.10 for a bus ride and $1.25 for a train ride. Students who are age 12 and older will continue to pay the full fare of $2.25 on buses and $2.50 on trains. Children ages 6 and younger ride free with a fare-paying customer.

For more information about Student Reduced Fare, please visit: www.transitchicago.com/students/


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