Ride Free Permits

Older adults and people with disabilities who are enrolled in the Illinois Department on Aging’s Benefit Access program are eligible to ride free on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace fixed-route services. To ride free, you must first qualify and be enrolled in the Illinois Benefit Access program. This program is administered by the Illinois Department on Aging. The income levels for eligibility range from $27,610 or less for an individual, $36,635 for a two-person household, and $45,657 for a household of three or more people. Learn more about the Illinois Benefit Access Program at  www.illinois.gov/aging/ or call 1-800-252-8966 [TTY: 1-888-206-1327]. Information is also available at senior citizen centers, the Mayor’s Office on Disabilities in the City of Chicago, and Independent Living Centers.

RTA Ride Free Program Brochure

RTA Ride Free Program Brochure (Spanish)

Senior Ride Free Program

Seniors, aged 65 or older: If you are an Illinois resident, and currently enrolled in the Illinois Department on Aging’s Benefit Access Program, you are eligible for free transit on fixed routes operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace.

If you not are an Illinois resident, aged 65 or older, you may be eligible for the RTA's Reduced Fare program.

Seniors who are enrolled in the Benefit Access program must apply for the RTA-issued Ride Free permit that will allow them to ride free on fixed-route transit in the RTA service region.

All seniors may apply in person. You may also download an application, or apply at any one of our registration sites in the region. To find a site near you, call (312) 913-3110 or refer to the Ride Free Registration Site.

Ride Free Registration Sites

At the registration center, you will be required to present:

  1. A valid government-issued picture identification card that verifies your age (driver's license, state ID card, alien registration card or passport), and current Illinois residency.
  2. A wallet-sized color photo of yourself that is approximately 2" square. Do not wear a hat, scarf or sunglasses in the photo. Some registration centers may charge up to $5 for taking your photo. You should receive your new Ride Free permit in 3-4 weeks.

People with Disabilities Ride Free Program

If you are an Illinois resident, and currently enrolled in the Illinois Department on Aging’s Benefit Access Program as a person with a disability,  you are eligible for free transit on fixed routes operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace.

If you not are an Illinois resident, but a person with a disability, you may be eligible for the RTA's Reduced Fare program.

Individuals with a disability who are enrolled in the Benefit Access program must apply for the RTA-issued Ride Free permit that will allow them to ride free on fixed-route transit in the RTA service region.

People with disabilities may apply in person. You may also download an application here, or  apply at any one of our registration sites in the region. To find a site near you, call (312) 913-3110 or refer to the Ride Free Registration Sites.

Ride Free Registration Sites

At the registration center, you will be required to present

  1. A valid government-issued picture identification card that verifies your age (driver's license, state ID card, alien registration card or passport), and current Illinois residency.
  2. A wallet-sized color photo of yourself that is approximately 1 1/2" square. Do not wear a hat, scarf or sunglasses in the photo. Some registration centers may charge up to $5 for taking your photo. You should receive your new Ride Free permit in 3-4 weeks.

Renewing Ride Free Permits

Approximately two months before your expiration date, you will receive a renewal notice in the mail. Your permit cannot be renewed if you have not re-enrolled in the Illinois Department on Aging’s Benefit Access program. For information on renewing your Benefit Access enrollment, visit www.illinois.gov/aging or call 1-800-252-8966. Once your enrollment has been approved, you may call one of our customer service representatives at (312) 913-3110 for more information on how to renew your permit. Please have your ID number at the bottom of your expired permit ready to give to the customer service representative. You may also reapply at any one of our registration sites in the region. To find a site near you, call (312) 913-3110 from any local area code or RTA Ride Free Registration Sites.

Replacement Permits

If your ride free permit is lost, stolen or damaged, you must fill out a replacement application. The fee is $5.00 for the first replacement and $10.00 for each additional replacement. It is not necessary to submit another photo. Payment can be with check or money order; cash is not accepted.

You can download a replacement application, or call (312) 913-3110 to have one mailed to you.