Prices for all CTA passes go up Monday

At this writing you have about 12 hours to buy CTA passes at a lower cost before increases go into effect Monday. That is if you can find them. I’ve seen signs at pharmacies and grocery stores saying passed were no longer available.

First, let’s recap the proposed increases in rates for passes, and other changes announced in the 2013 CTA budget released today:

  • Base fares are unchanged: $2.25 for each rail trip; $2 for each bus trip; 25 cents to transfer to a bus if you use a transit card or pass other than cash.
  • No cuts in bus or rail service.
  • Monthly passes will increase by $14 to $100, from $86.
  • Weekly passes will rise by $5 to $28, from $23.
  • Three-day passes will increase by $6, to $20 from $14
  • One-day passes will rise by $4.25, to $10 from $5.75
  • The Metra Link-up pass will increase by $10, to $55 from $45.
  • The fare from O’Hare on the Blue Line cost $5, a $2.75 increase from $2.25. Exempt from the $5 fare are reduced fare riders; customers who use 1-day, 3-day, 7-day or 30-day passes; and Chicago Card Plus users who have selected a 30-Day Pass option (meaning, the customer’s card’s value is set up to be replenished every month with unlimited 30-day pass privileges).
  • The reduced fare for seniors and others will increase by 15 cents to $1 from 85 cents. Low-income seniors and persons with a disability who have a valid RTA Circuit Ride Free Permit will continue to ride for free on the CTA.
  • The reduced fare elementary/high school students will decrease from 85 cents to 75 cents, saving a shiny dime per trip.

2013 CTA fares

One way to get deeply discounted passes is through Groupon. It is still selling three-day passes for $9.


Leave a comment
  • As Metra demonstrated by reducing the life of its tickets from one year to two weeks, one better check the expiration date of a pass before making a run on the drugstore or the nearest transit vending machine.

    Since all of these passes are for limited life, one especially should check whether the clock on a 7 day pass starts to run when purchased or when first presented to pay a fare, for instance. The site currently says that they are activated when first used, but consider whether you are running a risk by stockpiling.

  • In reply to jack:

    It's always smart to check expiration dates. As Jack says, the clock starts on a seven-day or 30-day or whatever pass when first used. But cards do have expiration dates.

    I believe the Groupon passes expire in September.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Thanks. I might have confused use and expiration dates, but you are correct.

    Maybe the more correct analogy is that if you try to reload a magnetic strip card a few weeks before the expiration date stamped on the back, the transit vending machine put your old balance onto a new card, but if you tried to do so after the expiration date, it just rejected the card, and you were out any balance left on it.

    Apparently this is going to become moot in a couple of hours.

  • As of this writing, a limited number of Groupon passes are available.

    From Groupon's site:
    "The Fine Print
    Expires Sep 3, 2013
    Limit 4 per person. Must activate CTA pass by 9/1/2013. Shipping address required to redeem CTA 3-day pass. Allow up to 3 weeks for delivery of CTA Pass. Purchase cannot be refunded. Passes are not valid with other offers. Pass is activated on its first use and will provide one rider unlimited use for a 72hr period."

  • Until July 1, 2013, all Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus users (whether or not their cards are linked to a 30-day pass) are exempt from the O'Hare surcharge.

    An easier way to say it is that full-fare Transit Card users are the only ones subject to the surcharge until July 1.

    See the CTA's FAQ (pdf file):

  • Studying the fare changes, I just noticed that the CTA did something rather confusing with the fares for children aged 7 to 11.

    On school days, between the hours of 5:30am and 8:30pm, children between the ages of 7 and 11 pay the 75 cent STUDENT fare, not the REDUCED fare. They do not need the permit that is issued to high school students to qualify for the student fare.

    At other hours, children 7 to 11 pay the REDUCED fare ($1.00 to $1.10).

    If you're taking your kids for a ride on a school day, you may have to carry two different Transit Cards to pay their fare. I wonder what happens if your child has a Student Transit Card with a transfer on it. Does the transfer expire at 8:30pm even if two hours have not yet passed?

Leave a comment