New Riders

Welcome to Metra, the commuter rail system serving the Chicago area. Metra has 11 lines with 241 stations radiating from downtown Chicago to the six-county area of northeast Illinois. Trains run frequently during rush hour and about every hour during off-peak times. We created this New Riders Guide for those who are new to the Metra system or who want to get reacquainted with it.

Some Basics
Metra's website makes it quick and easy to find out which line best fits your destination and your schedule. If you don't know which line is closest to you, don't worry. Just click on the "Find My Station" link on our homepage and you'll be guided first to the nearest station and line and then to more detailed information about schedules and fares between that station and your destination. You can even buy tickets online with a credit or debit card. If you already know which station you want to use, click on "Know Your Line?" and follow the online prompts to more information.

Schedules vary depending on the day of the week you plan to travel: weekday, Saturday or Sunday. Sunday schedules are also in effect on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Your Fare
Metra operates a distance-based fare system consisting of twelve fare zones. Riders are charged based on the number of zones they travel through. Regular one-way fares to downtown Chicago range from $2.75 from the closest zone, Zone A, to $9.25 from the farthest, Zone M.

Our online trip planner automatically tells you the fare for your trip. If you prefer to speak with a live voice, you can call our Passenger Services Department at 312-322-6777 weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. or the Travel Information Center, evenings and weekends, at 312-836-7000. They'll be happy to answer your questions.

Purchasing Tickets
Metra offers a few different ticket options including Monthly Tickets (unlimited travel between fare zones indicated), 10-Ride Tickets (ten, one-way rides), One-Way Tickets (a single, one-way ride), and an unlimited ride $7 Weekend Pass. Metra also has different fare programs for seniors, customers with disabilities, families, students and children. For detailed information regarding all of Metra's fare programs, please go to the Tickets page.

There are several ways to purchase tickets:

Website
Monthly Passes and 10-Ride Tickets can be purchased on this website and mailed to you. Use the "Buy Tickets online!" bar.

Ticket-by-Mail
Our Monthly Ticket-by-Mail (TBM) program is the convenient way for a frequent rider to purchase a ticket. With TBM, your ticket, along with an invoice and a return envelope, will arrive in your mailbox well before the first of the month, so you'll never have to wait in a ticket line. Use the TBM application.  Ten-Ride TBM envelopes are also available at stations. Simply enclose your check in the envelope with your order information. It can either be mailed back to Metra or dropped off at our downtown TBM boxes.

Ticket Sales Clerk
All ticket types may be purchased at stations where a ticket agent is on duty. Cash and checks (in the amount of $10 or more) are accepted. Credit cards are accepted online and will soon be accepted at stations.

On The Train
One-Way Tickets can be purchased on the train. However, if a sales clerk was on duty at your time of boarding, a service fee of $3 will be charged for purchasing a ticket on the train.

Senior Citizen/Disability Fares
Senior citizens 65 or older, customers with disabilities, and Medicare cardholders who have an RTA-issued Reduced Fare Permit are eligible for a reduced fare ticket. If you are enrolled in the Illinois Circuit Breaker program and have an RTA-issued Ride Free Circuit Permit, you are eligible to ride free. If you are not in possession of a RTA Reduced Fare Card you must contact the RTA to apply (312) 913-3110.

Metra Electric riders: The credit card vending machines sell only full fare tickets. RTA Reduced Fare Permit-holders who purchase tickets can receive a rate adjustment at one of the downtown station ticket windows.

Riding the Train
Be sure to arrive at the station early so that you have time to park your car and purchase your ticket. When the train arrives, simply get on board, find a seat and place your ticket in the metal clip in front of you. (If you are riding on the upper level, the clip is on the side of the privacy panel.) Let the conductor know it's your first time traveling aboard Metra, and they'll be happy to help you if you have any questions or concerns about your trip. Announcements are made before each stop. When you hear the message announcing the approach of your stop, pick up your ticket and any items you brought with you and head to the vestibule to disembark at your final destination. Customers who are hearing impaired may want to notify a conductor of their stop during ticket collection.

Helpful Information

  • All Metra's train lines are fully accessible. Most stations are also fully accessible or have partial ADA accessibility. If you are in need of assistance, you should call ahead to check the level of accessibility at the stations you plan to use, or go to the Accessibility page for a list.
  • Monthly permit and daily fee parking is available at most stations. However, Metra does not administer permit parking at the stations. Each township, municipality or city in which the station is located has different parking rules and regulations. For further information, see the appropriate station's section on this site.
  • We offer reduced rates for groups of 25 or more. To find out about our Group Travel call a Group Travel representative at 312-322-6772 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please be advised that your group's payment must be received at least two weeks prior to your trip.

We welcome your suggestions. If you have additional questions or comments about how we can further improve our service, please call or write:

Metra Passenger Services
312-322-6777
547 W. Jackson Boulevard, 14th Floor
Chicago IL 60661

Thank you for your interest in Metra. We look forward to welcoming you aboard.

These provisions are subject to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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