If you are considering retiring in Chicago, you will be pleased to learn that the city is home to one of the top 10 public transportation networks in the county. Between the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the Metra Commuter Rail, bike lanes, the city’s walkability rank and plentiful taxis, getting around Chicago without a car is easy. With so many options, you will be able to find the right transportation to get you nearly everywhere you want or need to go.
Roughly 130 bus routes – plus multiple rush hour express routes – will bring you to various destinations throughout the city, including many of Chicago’s top attractions. Several routes operate 24 hours a day. A single ride costs $2.50 if paid in cash or $2.25 if paid using the Ventra Card. CTA day passes, which range between $10 and $28 depending on the number of days covered, are also valid for bus use. And the CTA offers many free and discounted fare options for those age 65 and older and for people with disabilities.
Although most L train stops are elevated (as the system’s name implies), not all of the Chicago subway network’s eight lines run above ground. Identified by colors (red, blue, brown, green, orange, purple, pink and yellow), the L system provides extensive and speedy service to 145 stations around town, including the city’s two airports. One-way fares cost $2.50 per person. One-day passes are $10, three-day passes cost $20 and seven-day passes are $28. You can purchase a $5 reloadable Ventra Card that is valid on both L trains and buses.
For trips to the Chicago suburbs, Metra is your most reliable form of transportation. The system’s 11 lines extend outward from the Loop. The system is divided into zones, with fares determined by the number of zones you travel through: A one-way ride costs anywhere from $4 to $11, depending on the distance traveled. If you plan on using Metra over the weekend, purchase a weekend pass, which allows for unlimited travel on Saturdays and Sundays for $10.
Taxis in Chicago are a convenient way to get around the Loop and to areas beyond downtown. Within the Loop and the Near North Side you should have no trouble hailing a cab from the street. Meters start at $3.25 with each mile costing $2.25. A more cost-effective alternative is to use a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft.
A fun way to get around central Chicago is by water taxi. Two companies – Shoreline Sightseeing and Chicago Water Taxi – transport visitors along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan past popular tourist areas like Chinatown, the Museum Campus and the Loop. Water taxis are in service from the end of May through September or October (or through November, weather permitting). Fares vary depending on the day, the route and the company.
Chicago is an extremely bikeable city. According to Chicago Complete Streets, the city offers over 303 miles of bike lanes, whether they are protected by barriers, buffers, designated traffic lines or designated shared lanes. Chicago is laid out on a grid, making it very easy to find your way. And the city’s Divvy bike-share system allows you to rent a bike whenever you need one, with hundreds of stations located around the city.
While walking is not exactly a public transportation system, if you want to avoid taking a car, walking is a great option. There are a number of reasons why you may choose to walk in Chicago. To begin with, as far as American cities go, Chicago is very walkable. According to the walkability ranking site, Walk Score, Chicago received a grade of 77 out of 100, bringing it in as the 6th most walkable city in America. Chicago has an exceptionally walkable downtown, complete with great urban parks that give you a route through the city separate from automobile traffic. When you live in Chicago you can do most anything by foot, whether it is dining out, getting a prescription filled or taking care of banking.
No matter how you plan to enjoy all that Chicago has to offer, you will find that The Clare’s ideal Gold Coast location places you within an easy walk, bus or taxi ride to a remarkable array of restaurants, dining, shopping, cultural and educational opportunities. The Clare concierge will be happy to share the most cost-efficient and convenient public transportation routes, fares and schedules with you. Or if you would rather, take advantage of The Clare’s complementary scheduled transportation to nearby cultural events, recreational activities and medical appointments.
Feel free to contact us if you would like more information about public transportation in Chicago or The Clare’s transportation services.