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Getting Around Chicago Using Public Transportation

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About Public Transportation in Chicago:

Chicago is known for its heavy traffic, and with parking rates sky high in the city, it is worth taking a train or bus to get around Chicago. Chicago has a large public transportation system that consists of CTA and Pace buses, as well as CTA subway and elevated trains and Metra trains that bring in visitors from the Chicago suburbs.

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA):

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has a network of trains and buses that service all of Chicago. Chicago has two types of trains: subway and elevated ("L") trains. Chicago also has a network of buses that run on a regular schedule on most major city streets. You can visit the CTA's Web site for schedules, maps, information on service outages, and more.

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Fare Information:

As of July 2011, a single-ride CTA ride (bus or train) is $2.25 (cash).

If you have a CTA farecard, such as a Chicago Card, Chicago Card Plus, or Transit Card, the fare is $2 for the bus and $2.25 for the train. (Transfers must occur within two hours of the first ride.) With a farecard, your first transfer is 25 cents and your second transfer is free. Learn how to buy a CTA fare card.

The CTA also has passes that allow for unlimited rides for a specific time, including 1-day ($5.75), 3-day ($14), 7-day ($23; $28 for Pace), and 30-day ($86), as well as reduced fares and passes for students and those with disabilities.

About the Chicago Card:

The Chicago Card is a plastic card that you can add value to and use to pay for bus and train fares. There is a $5 fee to purchase the card. You can purchase the Chicago Card online or at one of hundreds of locations throughout the city. You can add value to the card at any CTA vending machine located at a Chicago train station, or you can simply set up your Chicago Card account to automatically debit your checking account. The Chicago Card is a smart and cost-effective option for those who use public transportation often in Chicago.

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Routes:

The CTA offers guides for all of its buses and trains, including where they go, amenities offered onboard, and when they operate. Simply select a bus or train route and click on its link. Bus routes are designated by numbers and train routes are designated by colors. Bus and train schedules and guides are available online. As a general rule, buses during normal business run every 10 minutes and train every couple of minutes. Tip: One of the most useful Websites for living or traveling in Chicago is the Regional Transit Authority's (RTA) Trip Planner. With this site, you can find the exact route of how to get from your "Point A" to your "Point B."
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