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Mayor Lightfoot Encourages Area Students to Take Advantage of Free CTA Rides on First Day of School

CTA’s popular “First Day, Free Rides” program, sponsored by Under Armour, encourages student attendance

As part of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot’s commitment to improving the lives of Chicago’s children, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will be providing free bus and train rides to all area elementary and high school students, as well as accompanying adult(s), on Tuesday, September 3 – the first day of school for Chicago Public Schools (CPS). This year marks the ninth year for the popular “First Day Free Rides” program, sponsored this year by athletic apparel maker Under Amour.

“Attending school on the first day is critical to children’s academic success,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Providing free CTA bus and train rides on the first day of school is just one of the many supports and resources we are proud to provide to Chicago’s youth to ensure a bright and successful school year and future.”

The “First Day, Free Rides” program has quickly become a back-to-school tradition for Chicago students. Last year, the program provided approximately 130,000 free rides to students and their parents or guardians. Since the program launched in 2011, more than 1 million free rides have been provided for Chicago area students.

“The CTA is proud to play a part in Mayor Lightfoot’s efforts to get Chicago’s students into the classroom on the first day of school and we are extremely grateful to our sponsor Under Armour for helping us continue this back to school tradition,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We recognize that students depend heavily on our services to get them to and from school and extra-curricular activities, and we look forward to supporting their academic success and endeavors all year long.”

“Ensuring that every CPS student has a safe and reliable way to get to and from the first day of school will help them start off the school year on the right foot,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Students who attend the first day of school are more likely to have strong attendance throughout the school year, and the district’s partnership with the CTA will help students from across the city make it to the first day of school on time and ready to learn.”

For the entire academic school year, students are able to take advantage of discounted fares of 75 cents on school days, between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Beyond school hours, elementary students, ages 7-11, are eligible for reduced fares of $1.10 for a bus ride and $1.25 for a train ride. Students who are age 12 and older will continue to pay the full fare of $2.25 on buses and $2.50 on trains. The CTA provides an estimated 150,000 rides to students each weekday.

For more information about Student Reduced Fare, please visit:

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