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Complete information, including how to get from point A to point B can be found at one of the two following sources: http://www.goroo.com and http://www.transitchicago.com/. You can also call the Regional Transportation Authority's information hotline at: (312) 836-7000. Supply your starting point, your destination, and the time you wish to travel and CTA/RTA will provide you with route/bus numbers and other pertinent information.
As of 1/14/2013, cash fare for buses is $2.25 per ride for adults and $.75 to $1.10 for kids 7-11. Train station turnstiles do not accept cash, so you will need to get a transit card. Transit card machines are available at any CTA train station, but not all transit card machines accept credit cards. Children under 7 ride free with a fare-paying customer. Slightly lower fares, and more importanly, $.25 transfers, are available ONLY with transit cards (available at train stations and certain other locations); see the CTA web site (above) for details. If you are travelling with a child aged 7 to 11, ask the station attendant for a blank reduced fare Transit Card and then add money to it at the Transit Card vending machine (cash may be inserted into a bus fare box, but no transfer will be issued).
Full-fare riders boarding the Blue Line 'L' at O'Hare Airport pay $5.00 (plus 25 cents for an optional transfer) if using a Transit Card which may be purchased from the Transit Card vending machines at the station. Reduced fare riders and those with unlimited ride passes do not pay a higher fare at O'Hare.
A good value for visitors - CTA Visitor Passes offer you the most economical travel value. With unlimited rides, the more you ride, the more you save!
For multiple rides on the CTA, Visitor Passes are a great option for kids, too. The regular cash fare for kids ages 7-11 is 75 cents on school days between 5:30am and 8:30pm. At other times, it is $1.10 (or $1.00 if paid by a Reduced Fare Transit Card on a bus). Transfers are available for an extra 15 cents if paying with a Reduced Fare or Student Transit Card. Children under age seven ride free.
The 3- and 7-day passes are sold in special "Visitor Pass Vending Machines" at certain CTA rail stations. There are also a number of retail outlets that sell all types of passes. A list is available on the CTA website.
Your pass activates the first time you use it. Just dip your pass into the bus farecard machine or the train station turnstile---and go! The pass is good for the number of consecutive days shown on the front of the card. As an example, a 3-day pass is valid for 72 hours from the time of first use and the expiration date and time is printed on the back of the card after it is used.
You can order passes ahead of time. There’s no charge for shipping.
If you are arriving in Chicago at O’Hare - the CTA Blue Line train will take you downtown. O’Hare is at the beginning of the Blue Line. Getting a seat isn’t a problem. Travel time form O’Hare downtown is about 45 minutes.
The Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA's) official name for its train system is The 'L' (written with single quotation marks). The name derives from the system of elevated train tracks the CTA inherited from its predecessors. Today, the CTA operates a system of elevated, subway, at-grade, and below-grade train lines, but still refers to them all as The 'L.'
If you’re staying in the city, there’s no real reason to have a car. Parking downtown is very expensive. If you are driving downtown, the underground parking garage at Millenium Park is less expensive than most lots.
Metra provides convenient train service to/from downtown and many suburbs. They offer a $7 pass for unlimited rides on the weekends (with up to 3 kids per adult free). A discounted 10-ride pass may be shared between people. Visit - http://www.metrarail.com/ for details. Please note that the conductor will charge $3 extra for one-way cash fares purchased on the train, if the origin station was open for ticket sales at the time of your departure. Be sure to purchase your ticket at your origin station if possible. If visiting Chicago from the suburbs, purchase your return trip ticket in Chicago as you arrive downtown. Otherwise you may experience long lines to purchase tickets, especially during the evening rush.
For suburban bus service - Pace provides service. Visit - http://www.pacebus.com/ for details.