CTA, Pace to launch joint, unlimited-ride passes Feb. 20

The CTA and Pace are merging their day and multiday pass programs into a series of passes that work across both platforms. Prices won’t change.

SHARE CTA, Pace to launch joint, unlimited-ride passes Feb. 20
A CTA bus stopped at the Dearborn-Madison CTA stop in the Loop, Thursday, October 13, 2022.

The CTA and Pace will begin selling passes Feb. 20 that can be used on both transit systems.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file

Public transit in the Chicago area is about to get simpler with a new pass-sharing program between the CTA and Pace systems.

Beginning Feb. 20, daily and multiday passes purchased through either CTA or Pace will work for both systems.

One-day and three-day passes for CTA buses and trains will now also work on Pace buses. The $5 surcharge on the CTA/Pace seven-day pass will be eliminated. Seven-day passes will now cost $20.

A $75 monthly CTA/Pace pass will be offered, though a $60 monthly PACE-only pass will remain available for purchase.

Unlimited ride passes cost $5 for one day and $15 for three days.

CTA/Pace passes can be purchased through the Ventra app.

“These changes improve access and provide customers with better fare payment options, flexibility and lower fares,” Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger said in a news release.

The changes come under two intergovernmental agreements between Pace and CTA leadership approved by both boards in December. Along with making ride passes shareable between Pace and CTA systems, the agreements make it easier for Pace and CTA to share the revenue collected from the new passes.

CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. called the new system an “equity equalizer” in a Tuesday news release. The change could encourage travel throughout the Chicago area by making public transit branches in the outer suburbs more accessible, Carter said.

“It’s vital we seek out new opportunities to eliminate the hurdles of taking public transit,” Carter said.

The unlimited-ride passes are the latest in a series of Chicago transportation initiatives intended to make public transit more affordable.

CTA, Metra and Pace collaborated in 2022 on the Regional Connect Pass, offering a $30 unlimited monthly ride CTA/Pace ride pass to monthly Metra pass-holders.

Before that, the CTA rolled out free transfers in the summer of 2021.

One- to seven-day passes bought and activated before Feb. 20 will not work across both CTA and Pace. Anyone who has bought a one-, three- or seven-day pass and not activated it can convert the pass into transit value on their Ventra account, then reactivate it on Feb. 20 to take part in the new system.

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