Welcome to Metra, the commuter rail system serving the Chicago area. We want you to think of us as My Metra, because Metra belongs to all of us. We are part of your community, bringing families together, driving economic growth and opportunity and, of course, safely carrying you where you need to go.
Metra has 11 lines with 241 stations radiating from downtown Chicago to the six-county area of northeast Illinois. Trains run frequently during rush hour and about every hour during off-peak times. This New Riders Guide will help those who are new to the Metra system or who want to get reacquainted with it.
Planning a trip
Metra's website makes it quick and easy to find out which line best fits your destination and your schedule. If you don't know which line is closest to you, don't worry. Go to our System Map and click on the "Search" tab on the upper right corner of the map. Enter your location and we'll tell you which station is closest to you. If you know which line you want to use, click on the Maps & Schedules tab and select your line to bring up a schedule finder tool for that line and your selected day of travel. Schedules vary depending on the day of the week you plan to travel: weekday, Saturday or Sunday. Sunday schedules are also in effect on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Note: During the COVID pandemic, all Metra lines are operating on alternative schedules that can be found here.
If you prefer to speak with a Metra representative, you can call our Passenger Services Department at 312-322-6777 weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. or the RTA Travel Information Center at 312-836-7000 on evenings and Saturdays. They'll be happy to answer your questions. You can also use the RTA Trip Planner.
Metra operates a distance-based fare system consisting of ten fare zones. Riders are charged based on the number of zones they travel through. To determine your fare, you must know your originating station, your destination station, and the type of ticket you wish to buy (One-Way, Day Pass, 10-Ride, Monthly, Saturday or Sunday Day Pass or Weekend Pass). Details about each ticket type can be found here. All ticket types except weekend passes and day passes are available at a reduced rate for K-12 students, seniors and other special classes as described here. Use the fare calculator here to see the cost of each type of ticket, full fare and reduced, between your selected origin and destination stations.
If you prefer to speak with a Metra representative, you can call our Passenger Services Department at 312-322-6777 weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. or the RTA Travel Information Center at 312-836-7000 on evenings and Saturdays. They'll be happy to answer your questions.
Metra offers a few different ticket options including Monthly Passes (unlimited travel among select fare zones), 10-Ride Tickets (ten one-way rides), One-Way Tickets (a single, one-way ride) and Day Passes (available from vending machines and the Ventra App , allowing unlimited travel between three zones or all zones, depending on the price). On weekends, Metra offers a $7 Saturday or Sunday Day Pass, good for unlimited rides on either Saturday or Sunday, and a $10 Weekend Pass (available on the Ventra App only), good for unlimited rides on both weekend days. Metra also has different fare programs for seniors, customers with disabilities, families, students and children. For detailed information regarding all of Metra's fare programs, please go to the Fares page.
There are several ways to purchase tickets:
All ticket types may be purchased at stations where a ticket agent is on duty. Credit cards, cash and checks (in the amount of $10 or more) are accepted.
Metra has begun to install new vending machines, starting with the downtown stations. Cash and credit cars are accepted.
Buy a Metra mobile ticket directly from your smartphone with the Ventra app. Download the FREE app at the App Store and Google Play.
On The Train
One-Way Tickets and Saturday/Sunday Day Passes can be purchased with cash on the train. However, if a ticket agent was on duty at your time of boarding, a service fee of $5 will be charged for purchasing a ticket on the train.
Senior Citizen/Disability Fares
Senior citizens 65 or older, customers with disabilities, and Medicare cardholders who have an RTA-issued Reduced Fare Permit are eligible for a reduced fare ticket. If you are enrolled in the Illinois Circuit Breaker program and have an RTA-issued Ride Free Circuit Permit, you are eligible to ride free. If you are not in possession of a RTA Reduced Fare Card you must apply for one. Click here or call 312-913-3110 for information.
There is a summary of where to buy each type of ticket here.
Monthly permit and daily fee parking is available at most train stations. However, Metra does not manage parking at most stations. Rather, the municipality in which the station is located usually manages the lots; each has different parking rules and regulations. For information about parking at each station, please call the phone number listed on each station page. Parking lots not operated by municipalities or their vendors generally are operated by SP+ Parking. SP+ Parking operates parking facilities at select locations in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. SP+ Parking offers both daily and monthly parking options to meet Metra riders' parking needs.
For more details about parking at Metra stations, please go to our Parking page.
Riding the Train
Be sure to arrive at the station early so that you have time to park your car and purchase your ticket. Be advised that times listed in Metra timetables are departure times from each station, not arrival times; please plan accordingly and give yourself time to be in position on the platform. If ticket agent is not at the station when you board, you can buy a ticket on the train from a conductor without penalty. You also can buy a Metra mobile ticket on your smartphone with the Ventra App. Download the FREE app at the App Store or Google Play. When the train arrives, simply get on board, find a seat and, if you have a paper ticket, place it in the metal clip in front of you. (If you are riding on the upper level, the clip is on the side of the privacy panel.) If you have a mobile ticket, show the ticket on your smartphone screen when the conductor checks for tickets - you will be asked to tap the screen to verify the ticket is valid. Let the conductors know it's your first time traveling aboard Metra, and they'll be happy to help you if you have any questions or concerns about your trip. Announcements are made before each stop. When you hear the message announcing the approach of your stop, pick up your ticket and any items you brought with you and head to the vestibule to disembark at your final destination. Customers who are hearing impaired may want to notify a conductor about their stop during ticket collection.
Note: Metra has temporarily relaxed its bikes on trains policy and is allowing bikes and folding e-scooters on all trains across all 11 lines. There are still limits to the number of bicycles allowed and cyclists should be advised there is no guarantee that bikes or e-scooters can be accommodated on an initial or return trip (particularly on rush-hour trains), and crews have the right to refuse bikes or e-scooters in the event of overcrowding or depending on the needs of customers with disabilities.
Bikes are permitted on weekday trains arriving in Chicago before 6:31 a.m. and after 9:30 a.m., departing Chicago before 3 p.m. and after 7 p.m., and on all weekend trains. The Ventra mobile app and printed schedules indicate which trains allow bikes. For rules, procedures and restrictions about bringing bikes on Metra trains, please go to our Bikes on Trains page.
Metra has also introduced new Bike Cars. Click here for details.
- All Metra lines are fully accessible. Most stations are also fully accessible or have partial ADA accessibility. If you are in need of assistance, you should call ahead to check the level of accessibility at the stations you plan to use, or go to the Accessibility page for a list.
- Monthly permit and daily fee parking is available at most stations. However, Metra does not administer permit parking at most of the stations. Each municipality in which the station is located has different parking rules and regulations. For further information, see our Parking page or the appropriate station's section on this site.
- We offer reduced rates for groups of 25 or more. To find out about our Group Travel call a Group Travel representative at 312-322-6772 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please be advised that your group's payment must be received at least two weeks prior to your trip.
We welcome your suggestions. If you have additional questions or comments about how we can further improve our service, please use our Contact Us form or call or write:
Metra Passenger Services
547 W. Jackson Boulevard, 14th Floor
Chicago IL 60661
Join the conversation online at:
Thank you for your interest in Metra. We look forward to welcoming you aboard.