Following is a repost from last month. This is an analysis of whether you should buy a pass, or just use a CTA transit card and pay per ride. For this analysis, we’ll assume that each month contains 21 work days on average.
Bus only, no transfer. The cash fare stays the same at $94.50. That’s a $5.50 saving over the soon-to-be $100 monthly pass. You might want to buy the monthly pass, if for nothing but the convenience factor. If you use a transit card, the base fare is $2, or $84 total for the month. That’s a $16 saving over the soon-to-be $100 monthly pass. No brainer to stick with cash on the transit card, as long as you don’t transfer.
For weekly pass users, that would be 10 total rides at $2 apiece, or $20. You save $8 over the new $28 price for a weekly pass.
Bus only with transfer to bus. Add $10.50 for the transfer if you use a transit card, for $94.50 total. Again, consider the monthly pass for convenience, and if you figure on using the card for at least one more round trip. If you’re using cash and transferring on a bus, you’re really losing big time anyway because you have to pay $2.25 for each trip.
For weekly pass users, that’s 10 rides at $2.25 apiece, or $22.50. Again, use the transit card and save $5.50 a week, as long as you don’t plan to use the CTA except to get to work.
Train, bus transfer combo. The per-ride fare (you would have to use a transit card or Chicago Card because of the transfer) per month would be $99.75. Buy the monthly pass for the convenience.
For weekly pass users, that’s 10 rides at $2.50 apiece, or $25. You have to decide whether you’d rather save $3 a week – a cup of coffee – or enjoy the convenience of a pass and be able to use it as much as you like over seven days.
Train only, no transfer. The per-ride fare would be $94.50 per month, or $5.50 cheaper than a monthly pass. If you know you will never transfer or use your card on the weekend, then pay by ride. Remember that you have to put cash on your card occasionally, so factor in the convenience of a monthly pass.
Weekly pass users: See scenario for “bus only with transfer to bus.” Same deal.
I don’t own a car, and take a train only to work. I will gladly pay $14 more for the convenience of the pass. I know I will use the pass enough to cover the additional cost.