Chicago offering students free CTA train, bus rides to school on first day

Free bus and train rides will be available to Chicago students on their first day back to school, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the CTA announced Wednesday.

The first day for Chicago Public Schools is Monday, August 30.

The free rides are available to all Chicago-area elementary and high school students, as well as their accompanying adult.

"Every student I've heard from is eager to get back into the classroom and offering them free CTA rides on their first day is a great way to build on their enthusiasm," Mayor Lightfoot said in a statement.


The program is called "First Day, Free Rides" — all thanks to the CTA and Butcher Boy Cooking Oils.

"We are beyond excited to have our students back in school, focused and ready to succeed after all they and their families have endured over the past 18 months. I want to thank the CTA and Butcher Boy Cooking Oils for sharing this excitement and supporting our young people as they kick off the new school year," Lightfoot said.

The "First Day, Free Rides" program is a back-to-school tradition in Chicago. In 2019, the program provided rides to more than 100,000 individuals.

"It’s important that our students know that they can still rely on CTA for a reliable, comfortable and affordable trip to school as they come back after participating in school virtually for such a long time," CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. said in a statement.

Students and accompanying adults are reminded to wear masks on all public transit, regardless of vaccination status.

Students are also eligible for discounted fares. For more information on Student Reduced Fare, visit