Exemption from $5 fare from O'Hare on Blue Line ends today

The temporary exemption of the $2.75 surcharge to ride the Blue Line from O'Hare ends today for all CTA customers using Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus cards.

The CTA in January changed the fare from O'Hare to $5, adding the $2.75 surcharge to the base $2.25 rail fare. But it exempted customers who use the Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus card till today to allow time to develop a system to exempt employees working on O’Hare International Airport property. Those employees will still enjoy that exemption.

For non-O'Hare workers who use the Chicago Card and purchase stored value or a single ride, they are subject to the $2.75 surcharge.

For Chicago Card Plus participants who have their fare choice option as pay-per-use, they are subject to the $2.75 surcharge.

Here's how to avoid the premium fee:
(1) For Chicago Card customers, purchase unlimited ride passes (1, 3, 7, 30-day).
(2) For Chicago Card Plus customers, select fare option "30-day Pass".

So start digging deeper in your pockets, O'Hare riders.


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  • Did they say how the employees get the exemption?

    Of course, since I had to ask, I'm not eligible.

  • One of the articles I read made it sound like it's tracked based on a Chicago Card. ie, registers their Chicago Card number as an O'Hare worker. Probably took some time to get it setup and to get all workers who didn't have a Chicago Card signed up. All this just in time for Ventra, of course.

  • In reply to whateva:

    Hilevitch's column explained it. It was sort of like you indicated, except a photo ID smart card.

  • In reply to jack:

    That makes sense, CTA could (but probably won't) do spot checks here and there to make sure the cards aren't being misused. Now, were they smart enough that those smart cards will work with Ventra or will the be immediately reissuing them in a couple months?

  • Remember that Pace still serves O'Hare for the standard Pace $1.75 fare. Pace routes 250 and 330 can be boarded at the Remote Parking station of the Airport Transit System (ATS).

    Pace Route 250 connects to the Yellow and Purple lines and numerous other Pace buses plus the Metra UP-North, UP-Northwest, and MD-North lines, just in case you are going anywhere on the north side of the city or northern suburbs

    CTA Transit Cards and Chicago Cards are accepted on Pace.

  • In reply to Olaf1:

    True, but certainly not a straight shot to anywhere in Chicago. Doesn't even get you to Rosemont, where all the buses are Pace.

    The Tribune keeps mentioning that the surcharge isn't charged at Midway, but I'm sure that the reason is that there are CTA bus alternatives at that terminal.

  • Midway also has feeder buses, O'Hare doesn't (the feeders go to Rosemount or Cumberland).

  • In reply to whateva:

    By "feeders" I assume you mean Pace, but as Olaf pointed out, you can get Pace at the people mover. But there isn't anything at O'Hare like taking 54B to Archer or the Pink Line. Also, if you are going to somewhere on the south side, 55, 59, and 63 give you a convenient ride without having to go through an L fare barrier. CTA does not provide similar service from O'Hare to, say, Norwood Park.

  • In reply to jack:

    No, I mean 55A, 55N, 62H, 63W, as well as the west end of 55, 59, 63.

  • I don't agree with cta is doing. It's wrong.

  • How do they know if you're getting off at O'Hare vs. an earlier stop?

  • In reply to Jokey:

    surcharge is only *leaving* O'Hare

  • What Jokey said.

  • Breaking News:
    Due to a problem distributing employee fare cards, the CTA is allowing anyone with an O'Hare employee ID card to board FREE at the O'Hare station until July 12.

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