Important Reminder for CTA Student Reduced Fare Riders
A Student Ventra® Card is a reusable, contactless, hard plastic card capable of storing transit value. In order to receive a CTA Student Reduced Fare, a student must have a Student Ventra Card.
When school is in session
The Student Ventra Card for CPS students costs $5.00 and may be purchased only through your child’s school. The card is valid for use on the CTA for five years, which means you will no longer have to buy a new card every school year. The card will provide students with the $0.75 Student Reduced Fare between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, during active school terms. The current CTA fare policy still applies.
For non-CPS students: Schools or parents can apply for a Student Ventra Card using forms on this page.
When school is not in session
Students can still use their Student Ventra Card when school isn't in session. However, they will not be eligible for the student reduced fare rate - instead, the normal CTA Reduced Fare applies. See the CTA fares page for more information on Student Reduced Fare and Reduced Fare.
To use Ventra, students will no longer need to carry a separate permit. Cash will still be accepted on buses.
Adding value & passes
You can reload transit value online at ventrachicago.com, by phone at 1-877-NOW-VENTRA, via the Ventra Mobile App, at all CTA rail station vending machines and at more than 1,000 retailers and currency exchanges across Chicago.
The CTA strongly encourages parents to register the Student Ventra Card to protect their balance in the event the card is lost or stolen, and to have access to online account management. Registration is quick and easy and can be done over the phone or online at ventrachicago.com. Students’ personal information is not shared with Ventra, and any replacement cards must be ordered by the school administrator where your child is enrolled.
Student Reduced Fare Riders FAQs
1. What is a Student Ventra Card?
The Student Ventra Card is a contactless hard plastic card capable of storing transit value and providing enrolled students with student reduced fare rides on CTA and Pace Suburban Bus Service. The Student Ventra Card is reusable and will only be deactivated if your child is no longer a student.
The Student Ventra Card for CPS students costs $5.00
The entitlement to receive a student reduced fare is based on a child’s age and/or their enrollment status
Children between ages 7 and 11 may receive reduced fare year-round, regardless of enrollment status
Students between ages of 12 and 20 will receive student reduced fares between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday during active school terms
Please note: There is no pre-paid debit functionality available for students. The pre-paid fares option has been disabled on the Student Ventra Card.
2. What is the price of student reduced fare?
See the CTA fares page for detailed information on Student Reduced Fare and other fare types.
3. How will my child be able to add transit value/passes to a Student Ventra Card?
Passes and pay-per-use value can be added to a student’s Card online at ventrachicago.com, by phone at 1.877.NOW.VENTRA, via the Ventra Mobile App, at CTA rail station vending machines and at participating retail locations.
Cash can be used to pay for bus rides. Cash will only be accepted on buses after tapping the Student Ventra Card to receive a student reduced fare rate. It can be loaded onto the Card at Ventra Vending Machines and at participating Ventra Retail Locations.
4. Am I required to register the CPS Student Ventra Card with the CTA?
No, Card registration is optional but recommended. You can still add value and check the Card balance at participating Ventra Retail Locations and Ventra Vending Machines without registering your child’s Card. You can also check your unregistered Student Ventra Card balance online and over the phone.
Please note: Transit passes and value will only be protected on Student Ventra Cards that are registered. In the event an unregistered card is lost, stolen or damaged, there is no ability to preserve unused funds.
5. What happens if the CPS Student Ventra Card is lost, stolen or damaged?
If your child’s Card is lost, stolen or damaged, your child can purchase a new Student Ventra Card through their school.
6. What about students at non-CPS schools?
CPS students need to get their card through their school. Non-CPS schools and students can use this form on this page to apply for a permit by mail.
7. Do Student Ventra Cards expire?
Yes, the first Student Ventra Cards to be issued since Ventra launched in 2013 will begin to expire on June 30, 2018, and continue to expire on a rolling basis. The expiration date can be found on the front of your blue Student Ventra Card. Your Card will work through the last date of the month in which the card expires. Continuing enrolled CPS students may obtain a replacement card via their school administrator. All existing transit value and passes will be automatically transferred to the new Card.