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At What Point is Buying a Monthly CTA Pass Worth It?

To determine how many times you would need to ride the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) daily in a month to make the cost of the monthly pass worth it, we need to consider the following:

  1. Cost of Monthly Pass:
    • Obtain the cost of the monthly CTA pass.
  2. Cost of Single Ride:
    • Determine the cost of a single CTA ride.
  3. Calculate Break-Even Point:
    • Divide the cost of the monthly pass by the cost of a single ride to find the break-even point.

Now, let’s consider the cost-effectiveness of the passes.

Let’s assume the reduced fare is for seniors or individuals with disabilities, so we will calculate both costs.

  • Cost of 30-Day CTA/Pace Pass: $75 (Full), $35 (Reduced)
  • Cost of Single ‘L’ Train Ride: $2.50
  • Cost of Single Bus Ride: $2.25

Now, we can calculate the break-even point for the 30-Day CTA/Pace Pass:

Therefore, you would need to take at least 30 ‘L’ train rides in a month for the cost of the 30-Day CTA/Pace Pass to be worth it.

Now, let’s consider the cost of the 30-Day Reduced CTA/Pace Pass:

Therefore, for the Reduced 30-Day CTA/Pace Pass, you would need to take at least 14 ‘L’ train rides in a month for it to be worth it.

Keep in mind that these calculations are based on the assumption that you’re only taking ‘L’ train rides and not including bus rides, transfers, or other factors. Depending on your actual usage pattern, the pass may still be cost-effective even if you take fewer ‘L’ train rides.

There is a one-time fee of 5 dollars for a new Ventra card. You can load any pass onto a Ventra Card at every Ventra Vending Machine, online, by phone, or right over the counter at hundreds of retail locations around town.

You can load any pass onto a personal, contactless bankcard at every Ventra Vending Machine and load passes. If you don’t have either, you can buy a new Ventra Card from vending machines and start off with a pass, online or any of hundreds of Ventra Retailers.

New Ventra Cards cost $5, but this value is immediately refunded to your Transit Account if you register within 90 days (you can even do it on the spot at a station using the mobile-friendly The refunded $5 in value can be applied toward the purchase of a pass at vending machines, online, or by phone.

You can also buy disposable, 1-Day Ventra Tickets for 24-hours of unlimited riding (like the regular 1-Day Pass), from any Ventra Vending Machine. Vending machines at O’Hare and Midway also vend a 3-Day (72-hour) version.

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