Higher CTA pass prices go into effect
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
Blue Line riders coming from O’Hare International Airport will pay $5 per regular full-fare trip, the cost of passes has increased, and high school students must apply for a new Student Riding Permit as part of the Chicago Transit Authority’s fare changes which took effect on Jan. 14.
The $1.39 billion budget approved by the Chicago Transit Board last month maintains service levels and freezes full base fares at their current level. The number of riders on the system has increased by 5.4 percent over the past 19 months to more than 28 million new riders per year.
The budget eliminated a projected deficit of $165 million through management efficiencies, improved labor cost management and an increase in pass prices to bring them in line with other major U.S. cities, according to the CTA. The agency last increased the cost of passes 4 years ago.
Full fares remain unchanged at $2 for buses and $2.25 for trains, and the fare for students was decreased from 85 cents to 75 cents.
Student Reduced Fare cards allow grade school and high school students age 7 to 20 to pay the lower fares on school days between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. High school students must apply for a new Student Riding Permit card.
Reduced fares may be paid with the student transit cards on both bus and rail lines and also with cash on buses. The cards for students are available for sale at the Fare Media Online Store at faremedia.chicago-card.com and at various retail locations.
The permit for high school students is a stored-value card in addition to being a permit. The permit may be used along with the reduced fare card or the fare value may be added to the permit.
Students can add value to their permits or reduced fare cards at vending machines at CTA stations. The vending machines accept coins and bills and cannot exceed $100. Some stations offer express vending machines where credit and debit cards are accepted.
To obtain a student riding permit card, student can apply with their schools’ permit administrator, at the CTA Sales Center, 567 W. Lake St., or online at www.transitchicago.com.
The application fee is $2 for a summer permit card or $5 for a fall and spring permit card.
The permits are not valid when school is not in session and on holidays. Students whose permits do not contain sufficient value to pay for second ride on a bus can pay with coins.
Student transfers cost 15 cents and allow for two additional rides within 2 hours of boarding. Transfers are not issued when paying with cash on buses or trains. Students also can purchase packs of reduced-fare cards for $7.50.
Full-fare transfers cost 25 cents, and riders can buy transit cards in packs for $10 or $20.
The CTA has instituted a new surcharge of $2.75 for trips originating at the O’Hare Blue Line station, in addition to the full fare of $2.25.
The agency is working with the Chicago Department of Aviation to develop a system to exempt employees working on airport property from the surcharge. Until a system is developed, the CTA will exempt all riders using Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus cards from paying the full fare through July 1.