What is public transportation like in Chicago?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Lauren Viera

Chicago has a remarkably efficient public transportation system, dubbed the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority). Single rides on either trains or buses cost $2.25; thereafter, discounts are possible via multi-trip transit cards and reloadable Chicago Cards (typically used by daily commuters).

For visitors, your best bet is the Unlimited-Ride Card. A 1-Day CTA Pass costs just $10 for unlimited rides; 3-, 7- and 30-Day passes are also available. Especially downtown, your CTA Pass is a great hop-on, hop-off option for traveling between destinations that are too far to walk. As far as trains go, the eight colored lines (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Brown, Pink) fan out from the Chicago Loop -- so named because a handful of these train lines run in a "loop" around the neighborhood. The city's main lines are the Red Line (generally north-south) and the Blue Line (northwest-southeast), and if you ask most Chicagoans, they'll identify with one or the other, almost like a personality test.

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