Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

Free Rides for Students on the First Day of School

The CTA will provide students with free CTA bus and train rides on the first day of school, Sept. 2, in what is the fourth year of the CTA’s “First Day, Free Rides” program.

Adults accompanying students will also ride for free that day.

The First Day, Free Rides program is in the third of a three-year sponsorship by Sun-Times Media Productions, LLC. The program was originally launched in September 2011.

“Mayor Emanuel and I believe that affordable, reliable public transportation plays an important role in education,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “Encouraging school attendance on Day One sets the tone for the rest of the school year. We thank our partners at Sun-Times Media Productions for their support of such an important initiative to promote attendance on the first day.”

"The Sun-Times is pleased to work with the Chicago Transit Authority on this important initiative. Getting students to their schools safely and on time the first day of class is an incredibly important step in getting kids ready for a productive year," said Jim Kirk, publisher and editor in chief of the Chicago Sun-Times. 

Last year, CTA provided more 147,000 free student rides on the first day of school and provided about 25 million student rides throughout the academic year.

Students who are enrolled in school are eligible to receive discount fares to ride the CTA Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. when school is in session. Last year, Mayor Emanuel and the CTA lowered student fares by 10 cents to 75 cents to make transit even more affordable during school hours from 5:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Beyond school hours, elementary students ages 7-11 pay reduced fares of $1 on the bus and $1.10 on rail and individuals 12 and older pay full fares.

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