The CTA and Pace are currently transitioning to Ventra™, a convenient new payment system that will let you use a single fare card for regional transit throughout the Chicago area. Ventra will make commuting easy and seamless because it is a convenient new way to access and pay for train and bus rides on CTA and Pace.
The transition to Ventra™ requires all seniors and people with disabilities currently enrolled in the RTA Ride Free , Reduced Fare or ADA Paratransit programs to receive a new permit this fall. All customers should have received their new permits. If you have not received your new Ventra permit, please contact the RTA Customer Service Center at 312-913-3110.
To help people with disabilities maintain their independence, the RTA has partnered with the Illinois Department on Aging to offer the People with Disabilities Ride Free program. New legislation now provides free rides on fixed-route transit (regularly scheduled CTA, Metra, and Pace buses and trains) for any Illinois resident over the age of 16 who has been enrolled as a person with a disability in the Illinois Circuit Breaker program.
Individuals who are enrolled in the Circuit Breaker program with a disability must still apply for the RTA-issued “Circuit Permit” that will allow them to ride free on fixed-route transit in the RTA service region.
I am not enrolled in the Illinois Circuit Breaker program. Now what?
To ride free on RTA systems, you must first qualify and be enrolled in the Illinois Circuit Breaker program. This program is administered by the Illinois Department on Aging. As of January 1, the income levels for eligibility into the Circuit Breaker program has increased. The new income limit ranges from $27,610 to $45,657, depending on household size. Learn more about the Illinois Circuit Breaker program or call 1-800-252-8966 [TTY: 1-888-206-1327]. Information is also available at senior citizen centers, the Mayor’s Office on Disabilities in the City of Chicago, and Independent Living Centers.
I am enrolled in the Illinois Circuit Breaker program. How do I qualify for RTA’s People with Disabilities Ride Free program?
If you are already enrolled in the Illinois Circuit Breaker program, you can complete an application for an RTA-issued Circuit Breaker permit at any RTA Customer Service Center. The main center is located at 69 W. Washington St., Lower Level Pedway, Chicago and there are over 200 registration centers located in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.
Find an RTA Registration Center - PDF Version (.pdf) Micorsoft Word Version (.doc)
At the registration center, you will be required to present a wallet-sized color photo of yourself that is approximately 1 1/2" square. Do not wear a hat, scarf or sunglasses in the photo. Some registration centers may charge up to $5 for taking your photo. The RTA’s Customer Service Center does not charge for this service. After verifying your eligibility with the Department on Aging, the RTA will issue a “Circuit Permit” within 3-4 weeks. This permit will allow you to ride free ride on fixed-route transit.
How do I use the RTA-issued Circuit Breaker permit?
On CTA and Pace buses, just insert the permit into the fare box or the turnstile for CTA trains. Metra riders will need to show their Circuit Permit to the conductor. Metra personnel may also request a second piece of government identification.
For any other questions regarding this program, please call 836-7000.
Download the RTA People With Disabilities Ride Free Program brochure
English PDF Version (.pdf) Spanish PDF Version (.pdf)