Your Guide to Using the CTA

With the CTA, you can get pretty much anywhere in the city. It’s also really cheap. Passes are $2.25 per ride, or, if you’re going to be using the CTA often, you can save money by purchasing one-day, three-day, weekly, or monthly passes. These allow you to ride an unlimited number of times within the time frame. When paying per ride, you can transfer to another train or bus for an additional 25 cents if it’s within two hours, and the third transfer is free!

via Flickr user Kevin Zolkiewicz

via Flickr user Kevin Zolkiewicz

The CTA applies to both the trains and the buses. The train is “The El,” which is short for Elevated Tracks. We refer to buses either by the specific street they run down (The Clark Bus, The Michigan Bus), or by their numbers (The 22, The 34).

It costs money to buy a Ventra card, which is what you use to get around on the CTA, but once you register the card online (you can do this from your smartphone), you get the cost of the card back. They are available at all train stops and many businesses around Chicago. You can also pay for the bus in cash and coin.

via Flickr user Mobilus in Mobili

via Flickr user Mobilus in Mobili

CTA APPS: Finding out what bus or train to take is best done using Google Maps. It lets you know how to get to the stops, where to get off, and where you need to go to transfer. Once you’re at the stops, you can use Transit Stop Chicago to find out how long it will be until it arrives!

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