Metra and Pace offering free rides for K-12 students on August 21

Publication Date
Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Elementary and high school students from across the region will also be able to ride Metra and Pace for free on Monday, August 21, the first day of school for Chicago Public Schools and many suburban schools.

This is the second year in a row that Metra and Pace are offering free rides to students on the first day of classes. The CTA has traditionally offered free rides for elementary and high school students on the first day of public school in Chicago. On all three transit services, K-12 students attending any public or private school, as well as an accompanying adult, can ride buses and trains for free from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on August 21.

“We are pleased to be able to help families start the academic year on a positive note by offering free rides for students using Metra to get to class,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski.

“Pace is proud to offer students free rides to start the school year off right. Public transportation offers essential access to education, employment, after-school activities, and entertainment. Encouraging young people to get on board fosters independence and lifelong transit use,” said Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger.

In addition to this special offer for the first day of classes, Metra offers reduced fares for students enrolled in a grade school or high school. 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. The student identification card or letter of certification must be displayed along with the ticket to the conductor. Children aged 7-11 are also eligible for reduced fares, and children 7 or under ride free with a fare-paying adult. For more information, go to:

Pace is providing free bus, On Demand, and ADA paratransit rides to all Chicago and suburban elementary and high school students, as well as an accompanying adult, on August 21. On other days, students can get discounted rides by buying the Pace 30-Day Reduced Fare Pass for $30 (unlimited rides all day, every day, regardless of trip purpose and without school-hour restrictions, for 30 days), paying with transit value on their Student Ventra Card for a reduced fare of $1.00, with free transfers, paying $1.10 in cash (using exact change) after presenting a student ID, or paying a surcharge of $1.10 using Ventra transit value when using the 30-Day Reduced Fare Pass on Pace Premium routes. Please note that transfers are not available when paying fares with cash. For more information, go to