The CTA bus network is composed of 150 different routes. CTA buses serve all community areas. Most of the lines serve main avenues north to south or east to west. There are also numerous express buses driving only at rush hours (early mornings and evenings). Several routes also provide 24-hour service, known as “Owl Service.”
The bus network works rather well but are slower than the “L” network as they are effected by Chicagos frequent traffic jams. The buses are clean and rather safe. Inside the CTA buses, each stop is announced orally and visually (as well as the time), so you always know where you are. To request a stop, pull down the strings along the windows. To get out of the bus, push the door at the stop as the bus doors do not open automatically. Make sure you have the exact fare or a transportation card when you get in the bus, for the driver has no money and no change.
For a full chart of the fares, check the CTA website on http://www.transitchicago.com/travel_information/fares/fullschedule.aspx
The fare for the buses is $2.25 on buses only in dollar bills or coins (no transfers available when paying cash). With Transit Cards and Chicago Cards, the fare for the buses is $2.00, the first transfer costs 25 cents, and the second one is free.
If you use a Chicago card, Chicago Card Plus or Transit Cards and transfer between buses and trains or between buses, you will be automatically charged the transfer fee when you use your card to transfer. You do not need to pay for the transfer on the first part of your trip.
You can buy tickets:
- At vending machines at L stations. There you can buy CTA Pass (3-Day, 7-Day, and 7-Day CTA/Pace passes), Transit Cards and Chicago Cards. You can also add value to both Transit Cards and Chicago Cards.
- At the CTA Headquarters located 567 W Lake St (2nd Floor Sales Center). There you can buy fare cards (Transit Cards and Passes) and get Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus.
- At the Currency Exchange stores located all around the city but mainly downtown.
- At the CTA online store: http://faremedia.chicago-card.com/
Maps and Schedules
- All the CTA maps for the buses network: http://www.transitchicago.com/travel_information/maps/default.aspx.
- All the CTA schedules for the buses network: http://www.transitchicago.com/travel_information/schedules.aspx.
Special seats are kept for elderly, veterans, pregnant women, etc… When any of these special-needs passengers board, be sure to offer your seat.