Reminder: Ring in the New Year with Free Rides on CTA

December 28, 2021

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will once again offer New Year’s Eve free rides on buses and trains from 10 p.m. on Friday, December 31 until 4 a.m. Saturday, January 1. The free rides are sponsored by Miller Lite and allow Chicagoans the opportunity to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a responsible and safe way.

During the free-ride period, customers do not need to touch their Ventra or personal bankcards at rail station turnstiles or when boarding buses. Customers will see signs posted reminding them about the free ride period on bus fareboxes.

As in past years, no refunds will be issued if customers elect to touch their fare card or other form of payment on fare-card readers during the free-ride period.

For customers traveling to and from events around Chicago this New Year’s Eve outside the free ride period, the CTA recommends purchasing fares in advance, which will decrease travel times and avoid long lines at rail station vending machines. Customers can add our permanently discounted, unlimited ride passes (1-day is $5, 3-day is $15, and 7-day is $20) or add money to their Ventra cards for pay-per-ride via the following ways: free Ventra app, rail station Ventra vending machines, online or at nearly 1,300 local retailers - for locations visit ventrachicago.com.

Single-ride tickets are also available for purchase for $3 ($5 at O’Hare) at all Ventra vending machines. Single-ride tickets include up to two transfers in two hours.

Ventra allows riders to use Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay, or any contactless credit or debit card, for pay-as-you-go rides ($2.25 for bus, $2.50 for train). Ventra can also be used on the iPhone Apple Watch.

As part of the sponsorship, Miller Lite pays a fee that covers the cost of all rides taken and helps offset the operating costs to run CTA service during the hours in which the promotion is offered.

Pace Suburban Bus Service will also offer free rides on their fixed route and ADA Paratransit services between 10 p.m. Friday and 4 a.m. Saturday. Pace is not part of the CTA-Miller Lite free rides promotion.

NOTE: All CTA bus and rail service will operate on a normal Saturday schedule on Saturday, January 1, when the New Year is a nationally observed holiday. CTA will run a Sunday schedule on Friday, December 31st.


Back to news
System status snapshot
‘L’ route status
Red Line
Normal Service
Brown Line
Normal Service
Green Line
Normal Service
Orange Line
Normal Service
Pink Line
Normal Service
Purple Line
Normal Service
Yellow Line
Normal Service
Bus routes w/alerts
Elevator alerts