In compliance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, all 11 train lines in the Metra system, plus the South Shore Line operated by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, are fully accessible to customers with disabilities. Metra has modified rail cars and made accessible most of its busiest train stations to accommodate individuals with hearing, vision, and mobility disabilities. Train service for customers with disabilities spans all six counties in metropolitan Chicago.
People With Disabilities Ride Free Program
The RTA has partned with the Illinois Department on Aging to implement the People with Disabilities Ride Free Program. The program provides free rides on fixed-route transit (regularly scheduled CTA, Metra, and Pace buses and trains) to be made available to any Illinois resident who has been enrolled as a person with a disability in the Illinois Circuit Breaker program.
The cars on the Electric District are equipped with roll-on bridge plates that cover the gap between the vestibule and the high-level platforms. The diesel-powered lines have at least one lift-equipped car per train to provide access from low-level platforms.
The rest of the Metra system is operated by diesel locomotives. Each accessible car can be identified with the international "access" symbol. Non-downtown platforms have an accessible boarding area or areas where the lift-equipped train car will stop for boarding. Each accessible car has three wheelchair areas for riders who prefer to remain in their chairs. Customers can also transfer to standard seats.
Metra currently has 163 fully accessible stations and 25 partially accessible stations. These represent our busiest stations used by over 94 percent of our customer base. Customers who use wheelchairs at partially accessible stations will be able to access train platforms from the street. However, ramps, ticket windows, and/or buildings and shelters may not fully conform to ADA guidelines. These stations are designated as partially accessible so as not to deter customers from facilities which may be usable.
Customers can check the level of accessibility at stations they plan to use.
Metra system sector maps available
As a service to our customers who are disabled, Metra has a systemwide "large print" accessibility map. The map is divided into three sectors: North, West, and South. Each sector map includes the area's rail lines and stations along the lines. The station names are larger and easier to read. Every station in the system is color-coded to identify accessible, partially accessible, and inaccessible stations.
Get to know the system
Metra has a 13-minute video to acquaint new customers with the Metra system. The video, "All Aboard," shows changes that have been made to rail cars and stations in order to accommodate individuals with mobility, hearing, and vision disabilities. The video is available to organizations that work on behalf of the disabled and can be obtained by calling Metra's ADA Specialist at 312-322-6766.
Your comments are welcome
We greatly value our customers and would like to hear from you about your trip on Metra. Your comments about our service or suggestions for improvement are always appreciated, please refer to Contact Metra.
What is P-8?
Under the Americans with Disabilities act of 1990, commuter rail systems are not required to operate complimentary paratransit systems. Accordingly, Metra does not operate such a system. However, Metra does provide what is called P-8 service (short for paragraph 8 of the Jones II Consent Decree).
P-8 is a shuttle service from a qualified origin to the next accessible station. Metra does this at no additional charge to the passenger and does not require certification of disability status. Reservations may be made any time the day before the ride is needed or with as little as three hours notice when necessary.
If someone who ordinarily rides from a non-accessible station were to break a leg, for example, he or she could use the service during recuperation without going through a formal certification process.
P-8 connections are guaranteed - that is, if you miss the train because the ride is late, and another train is not available right away, the driver will take you to your destination station. In the unusual event the train is late, the driver will wait until it arrives.
What are the Rules for P-8?
There are some rules governing the use of P-8 service. To qualify for the service:
- The origin or destination must be within ½ mile of a non-accessible Metra station. This is called the qualifying station.
- Travel is allowed only to or from the next accessible station on the same line.
- If an accessible bus or train operates within ½ mile of the qualifying station to or from the next accessible Metra station, the trip is not eligible.
P-8 service exists temporarily and only to provide transportation for persons with disabilities to the next accessible station. It is not a paratransit service. Those who need paratransit should contact the RTA at 312-917-HELP.
As Metra and stations and Pace and CTA buses become accessible, fewer P-8 trips will be eligible.
Please see below for examples at the time of writing. For the most current information, please contact Metra Passenger Services or refer back to this page. P-8 service is provided by a private company, SCR Transportation. For service, contact SCR at 800-868-5401.
Examples of Eligible and Non-Eligible Trips
- Most trips within the city of Chicago are not eligible since all of Chicago is within ½ mile of an accessible bus line most of the time. There are, however, very limited exceptions.
- For example, because the accessible (#1 Indiana) bus does not operate weekday evenings after the rush hour, or on weekends, P-8 service is eligible on parts of the South Shore Line to the McCormick Place Station during those periods.
- Trips from Main Street Station in Evanston to Rogers Park Station are eligible because CTA buses do not go to Metra's Roger Park Station. Trips to Central Street Station from Main Street Station are eligible only between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. since a CTA bus operates during the day.
- Trips from Oak Park Station are not eligible since CTA's Green Line runs downtown.