CTA PASSES

Until December 1998, the CTA offered a Monthly Pass, valid for a calendar month. But then, the new fare collection technology enabled the CTA to introduce new pass options, with greater flexibility. A 30 day pass is now available for $105 valid on both CTA and Pace. And a 7 day pass is available for $28 valid on CTA only, and $33 valid on both CTA and Pace. Because Pace does not market 7 day passes on its own, Pace requested the extra $5 to meet its budget needs. The period of validity is no longer necessarily restricted to a calendar month or week, but begins with the first use of the pass. The automated fare collection equipment electronically "stamps" the time of validity on the card.

This "electronic time stamp" concept was first introduced with the Visitor Pass. The Visitor Pass was first introduced in 1997, and was originally available at $5 and valid for 24 hours from its first use. The CTA later introduced 2 day, 3 day, and 5 day passes. The Visitor Pass was generally sold at museums and other tourist locations. In 2009, the 2 day and 5 day passes were eliminated. The 1 day and 3 day passes were retained, with 2013 prices set at $10 and $20 respectively. These passes are no longer necessarily marketed towards visitors, and are sold at Currency Exchanges, Jewel supermarkets, and Walgreens and CVS stores.

The "Link-Up" Pass is sold by Metra in conjunction with Metra monthly tickets, and costs $55 in addition to the cost of the Metra ticket. It is valid for a calendar month, during weekday commuting hours only.

The "U-Pass" was introduced in 1998, provided to students at participating colleges and universities, and paid for through the student activity fees. It becomes money well spent, because it would cost more money if the colleges and universities instead decided to construct additional parking facilities.

The CTA employee passes also work in the new fare collection equipment. In addition, the "Customer Assistants" at rapid transit stations have special passes, capable of unlocking the turnstiles for special situations.