Elementary and high school students are eligible for a Student Reduced Fare—a discounted fare on CTA for students enrolled in public, private, parochial and some suburban public elementary or high schools.
This page is for parents, guardians and students.
If you're a school administrator, see this page
Student Ventra Cards
Students must have a Student Ventra Card to receive the Student Reduced Fare on CTA buses and trains. Many schools issue them. Learn more about how to get a card.
Student Ventra Cards, like regular Ventra Cards, can be loaded at vending machines, more than 1,000 retailers, online, in the Ventra app or by phone.
Using a Student Ventra Card to get the Student Reduced Fare
There are two ways to use a Student Ventra Card to get the Student Reduced Fare:
- Students can pay with their Student Ventra Card for train and bus fare (including transfers) with transit value.
- Students can pay in cash/coins on buses if they have their Student Ventra Card and ask the driver to pay a cash student fare. Bus drivers cannot give change and transfers are not available when paying this way.
Using the Student Ventra Card for non-school trips
Student Ventra Cards can be used for out-of-school riding, too—regular fares are automatically deducted from transit value outside of Student Reduced Fare hours or outside of a school term.
For children 12-20, a regular Full Fare is deducted from transit value.
For children 7–11, a regular Reduced Fare is deducted from transit value outside of Student Reduced Fare hours, if your card is registered (otherwise, students will need to ask for help to receive an age-based Reduced Fare).
Once school starts again, students need to have student riding privileges re-enabled either by their school or by applying: learn more.
Fare info for students
|Quick fare chart
||Student Reduced Fare
(during student fare hours, only*)
(at all other times, for children
(at all other times,for students 12 and up)
|'L' train fare (from Ventra Card Transit Account)
|Bus fare (from Ventra Card Transit Account)
|Bus fare when paying directly with cash/coins
|Transfer (up to 2 additional rides within 2 hrs; not available when paying cash)
*Student fare hours: CTA Student Reduced 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), Monday thru Friday, 5:30a-8:30p, on school days, with a Student Ventra Card.
This special student fare is only available on CTA buses and trains.
How to obtain a Student Ventra Card
Students attending Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools issue cards directly. See your school's administrator for information on how to get a card.
Students attending private or parochial schools
Students who attend non-CPS schools are also eligible for the program. Some schools issue cards directly. Check if your school is on this list:
List of schools that issue Student Ventra Cards, directly
- If your school issues cards directly, including all Chicago Public Schools, see your school's administrator for information on how to get a card.
- If your school does not issue cards directly, you can use this order form to order a card directly from us.
New Student Ventra Card (for individuals)
Replacement Student Ventra Card (for individuals)
Renewing student riding privileges
Don't throw your card away at the end of the school year/term!
Cards last for up to five years and revert to regular fares when school is not in session, so you can keep using it once school ends. To have access to student fares re-enabled for every regular or summer school term, you'll need to have privileges renewed. Here's how:
- If you attend a Chicago Public School, you don't need to do anything. Chicago Public Schools do this automatically.
- If your school issues cards directly, ask them to re-enable student fare on your existing card when your new school term begins.
- If your school does not issue cards, your parent/guardian can request student fare be re-enabled by sending in this order form:
Renew Student Reduced Fare Riding Privileges
Register your card
We strongly encourage parents and guardians to register Student Ventra Cards. Registration ensures balance protection in the event the card is lost, stolen or damaged.
Registering also provides online account management features (including the ability to reload value online or set cards up to automatically reload when the value gets low).
Additionally, you'll receive important messages about student fares.
Registration is quick and easy and can be done online at ventrachicago.com or by calling 1-877-NOW-VENTRA.
Card lost, stolen or damaged?
If your Ventra Student Card is lost, stolen or damaged, students can purchase a replacement card through their school.
- At schools that issue cards, including Chicago Public Schools, students will need to see their school's administrator for assistance and to buy a new card. If the old card was registered, parents can call 1-877-NOW-VENTRA to have remaining value moved to the new card.
- If the student’s school does not issue Ventra Student Cards, use the Replacement Student Ventra Card order form. The card will be mailed to the student’s school for pickup. If you registered, be sure to fill out the section that asks for the student card's transit ID (you can log into ventrachicago.com or call to retrieve this number).
For more information, you can contact Ventra Customer Service at 1-877-NOW-VENTRA.