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riding metra

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Metra?

Metra is the commuter rail agency serving Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties in the Chicago area. It is the sister agency to the Chicago Transit Authority, which provides mass transit rail (the L) and bus service to Chicago and some suburbs, and Pace, which provides bus service primarily in the suburbs.

Where do Metra trains run?

Metra serves more than 100 communities with 241 stations on 11 lines running from Chicago’s downtown. Click on our online system map to see route and station locations.

When do the trains run?

Trains run frequently during weekday rush hours and about every hour during off-peak times. They also operate on weekends on most lines. Click on the Maps and Schedules link for more information.

Does Metra run on major holidays?

Most lines operate on major holidays. Sunday schedules are in effect on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas (lines that do not operate on Sundays therefore also do not operate on those holidays). On other days, such as pre-holiday dates, modified schedules may be in effect. Check with this website or call the Transit Information Center at 836-7000 (city or suburbs) to see if we are running a modified schedule.

How can I find my route?

Use our easy online trip planner for routes and train times. 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 RTA Travel Information Center, evenings and weekends, at 312-836-7000, city or suburbs. You can also go to our System Map and click on the "Search" button in the upper right corner. Enter your address and the result will tell you the closest Metra station to your location.

Where do the lines stop in downtown Chicago?

Metra Electric trains serve Van Buren Station (Van Buren and Michigan) and Millennium Station (Randolph and Michigan). Union Pacific North, Northwest and West line trains use Ogilvie Transportation Center (Madison and Canal). Rock Island trains use LaSalle Street Station (LaSalle and Van Buren). The North Central Service, Milwaukee West and Milwaukee North line trains use the north concourse of Union Station, while the BNSF Railway, SouthWest Service and Heritage Corridor lines use the south concourse of Union Station. Click here for a map of downtown stations.

How much is the fare?

Metra operates a distance-based fare system consisting of twelve fare zones. Regular one-way fares to downtown Chicago range from $3.50 from the closest zone, Zone A, to $10.50 from the farthest, Zone M. To determine your fare, you must know your originating station, your destination, and the type of ticket you wish to buy (One-Way, 10-Ride, Monthly or Weekend). Scroll to the bottom of the Tickets page to find detailed fare information; select your line to see the full and reduced fare charts for One-Way, 10-Ride and Monthly Passes for that line and click on the "ChooseTwo Stops" box to select the start and end stations for your trip and then the orange "Go" box to see specific fare information for the ride between those stops.

What kinds of tickets does Metra sell?

Metra offers a few different ticket options including Monthly Passes (unlimited travel among select fare zones), 10-Ride Tickets (ten one-way trips), One-Way Tickets (a single, one-way ride), and an unlimited ride $8 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, click on the Tickets link.

How do I purchase a mobile ticket?
What fares are available for seniors?

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 at 312-913-3110 to apply. Metra Electric customers: 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.

Is there a discount for military personnel?

Military personnel who provide proper identification indicating that they are on active duty can purchase reduced fare One-Way and 10-Ride Tickets from ticket agents and One-Way Tickets from conductors. Military fare tickets are sold only at Metra ticket offices and onboard trains.

Are reduced fares available for students?

Yes, full time students enrolled in an accredited grade school or high school can purchase a reduced one-Way, 10-Ride or Monthly Pass. Student fares are in effect at all times. When purchasing a ticket, students must present a valid letter of certification from their school (on school stationery) or present a valid school I.D. (both are valid through the end of the calendar year) bearing the student's name, school name and authorized signature. Student identification card or letter of certification must be displayed along with the ticket to the conductor. Failure to do so will result in full fare payment. Student tickets are not transferable. Any questions concerning the above may be directed to Metra Passenger Services at 312-322-6777.

All fare policies concerning standard student fares also apply to home-schooled students. To meet documentation requirements, the student must present a letter with the name and address of the person providing the home schooling as teacher/principal at the top, signed and notarized. Click here to download form.

Are there any other special discounts or savings?

Yes. We’re glad you asked! You may be eligible for savings of up to 40 percent when you participate in an IRS-approved Transit Benefit program where you work. In order to benefit, your employer must offer a qualified program, and you must be a W-2 employee (1099 contractors, partners and other selected individuals are not eligible). Actual savings are through reduced income taxes (FICA/Medicare, Federal, and State). For more information, visit our Transit Benefits info page.

Where do I buy tickets?

Tickets are available for purchase at all downtown stations and at all outlying stations where a ticket agent is on duty. One-Way Tickets can be purchased on the train, but if an agent is on duty or a vending machine is available at the station where you boarded, the conductor will charge you an additional $5. Ten-Ride Tickets and Monthly Passes also can be purchased online. Questions regarding ticket orders can be e-mailed to ticket_info@metrarr.com. The Ventra App can be used to purchase any kind of Metra mobile ticket on your smartphone, anytime and anywhere. Download it for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Does Metra replace or refund tickets?
No refund or replacement ticket will be issued for lost, destroyed or stolen One-Way, 10-Ride, Weekend or Monthly Passes. Refunds for unused Monthly Passes are available per the guidelines that can be found here. (Subject to a $5 handling fee if returned after the first day of the month.)
Can I bring my bike on the train?

Generally yes, but see our Bikes on Trains for the full list of rules.

Is smoking allowed?

No. All Metra trains are smoke-free.

What are Metra's Pets on Trains policy rules?

On weekends only, small pets in enclosed protective carriers are allowed. Carriers will not be allowed to take up seats, seating areas or obstruct pathways on trains or in stations and must be small enough to be carried on by a single person. They must fit in a passenger’s lap or under the seat at all times. Metra reserves the right to remove passengers with pets that are noisy or disturb other customers. Owners will be responsible for the behavior and cleanup of their pets.

Can I bring food on the trains?

Yes, but please be courteous to other riders by remembering to use the trash receptacles.

What are Metra Quiet Cars?

To give passengers some peace and quiet during their commute, Metra has designated Quiet Cars on all morning inbound and evening outbound rush-hour trains. The cars are designed to give riders a space free of some common nuisances such as cellphone calls, loud headphones and loud conversations. On all lines except the Metra Electric Line, the Quiet Cars are the second car from the locomotive and the second car from the other end of the train on rush-hour trains with six or more cars. If there are five cars or fewer on the train, only the second car from the engine is a Quiet Car. On the Metra Electric Line, only the third car from the south end of the train is a Quiet Car. There are no Quiet Cars on two-car trains. All Quiet Cars are identified with decals on outside of the car and signage inside the car. The rules are simple: No cell phone calls. If passengers must answer their phones, they should make it brief or move to the vestibule or another car. Conversations are discouraged; if they must be held they should be short and in subdued voices. All electronic devices must be muted, and headphones should not be loud enough for anyone else to hear. Quiet Cars are in effect on all inbound trains arriving downtown at or before 9 a.m. and all outbound trains leaving downtown between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Metra expects Quiet Cars to be largely enforced by peer pressure and conductor intervention when necessary. Many riders said that having a rule in place empowered them to ask noisy people to be quiet or move. Conductors carry small notices that they can discreetly present to passengers who are violating the quiet car rules. Metra hopes all passengers will remember to treat their fellow passengers with courtesy and respect, no matter where they are sitting. Quiet Cars are a registered service mark of Amtrak.

What about alcohol?

Alcoholic beverages are permitted except during certain events and festivals, such as the Taste of Chicago and Blues Fest.

Does Metra operate a Lost and Found office?

Yes. To inquire about lost articles, please stop by the downtown terminus of your line or call the following phone numbers:

Millennium: 312-322-7819

LaSalle Street: 312-322-8957

Union Station: 312-322-4269

Ogilvie: 312-496-4751

Is Metra accessible to people with disabilities?

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. For more details, see our Accessibility page.

Is there parking at Metra stations?

Monthly permit and/or daily fee parking is available at most stations. However, Metra does not administer parking at most of these stations. Generally, the municipality in which the station is located oversees the parking; each has different parking rules and regulations. Some stations are overseen by Metra's parking contractor, Central Parking. There is a contact phone number for parking information on each station page.

Is baggage allowed on Metra trains?

There is no checked baggage on Metra trains. Because of limited space, skis, non-folding carriages or other large items cannot be carried. Baggage should not block aisles or other seats. Please comply with train crew instructions.

Who determines Metra policies?

Metra is run by an 11-member Board of Directors made up of representatives of the six-county area. Ten are appointed by county board chairman or commissioners, and one is appointed by the mayor of Chicago.

How is Metra funded?

Metra uses fare revenues to pay for 55 percent of its operating costs and public subsidies, primarily a regional transportation sales tax, for most of the rest. For its capital costs, including major infrastucture and rolling stock expenses, Metra relies overwhelmingly on local, state and federal assistance.

Where are Metra’s headquarters?

We’re at 547 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Illinois, 60661.

How can I contact Metra?

You can call our Passenger Services Department at 312-322-6777 weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. They'll be happy to answer your questions. For additional options, please refer to Contact Us.

Which credit cards does Metra accept on its website?

We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover cards. We also take debit cards as long as they have a MasterCard or Visa logo.

How many tickets can be purchased online at one time?

You can purchase up to two Monthly Passes or up to three 10-Ride Tickets per transaction online.

Is there a deadline to purchase monthly passes from your website?

Yes. You must buy your pass by the 21st of the previous month. Tickets will then be delivered by the 1st.

What is a My Metra account?

My Metra is a password-protected account that you may establish on our website to track service alerts, set up email notification preferences, manage personal billing information and set up and manage recurring ticket orders. Click here to create an account.

Do I need to create a My Metra account to order tickets on your website?

No. My Metra accounts are offered as a convenience only and are not required for an online ticket purchase.

What is a recurring order?

You can set up a My Metra account to schedule the regular delivery of Monthly Passes or 10-Ride Tickets. First, establish your account. Tell us which tickets you want to order each month and how many of each. Then give us your credit or debit card information. Once your account is established, the same order will be processed each month on the date of your first order, and your credit or debit card will be charged automatically each month. For instance, an order for one October Monthly Pass placed on Sept. 20 would be processed again on Oct. 20 for one November pass, then on Nov. 20 for a December pass, etc. No need to worry about ordering every month or accidentally missing the deadline for Monthly Pass sales (the 21st of the prior month). You can even schedule to skip a month if, for example, you are planning to go on vacation.

Will my credit card information be secure when I order tickets online?

Yes, Metra is using a secure, PCI-compliant, web server for its Internet ordering service.

How will I know that my online purchase was processed?

You will receive an email confirming each order placed. You will also receive an email when your tickets are shipped.

Can I purchase reduced fare tickets on the Internet?

Only riders who qualify under the RTA’s Reduced Fare Program may purchase reduced fare tickets online with a My Metra account and a valid RTA Reduced Fare permit number. This number will be verified by Metra before a reduced fare purchase is processed. Riders who qualify for the Seniors Ride Free Program do not need to purchase tickets.

Who do I contact if I have a question about my order?

Questions regarding ticket orders can be addressed by emailing ticket_info@metrarr.com. Order cancellation can be done by completing this form.

 

 

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