CTA to Provide Free Train and Bus Rides on New Year’s Eve

Free CTA rides sponsored by Miller Lite

Free CTA rides sponsored by Miller Lite (The Gate/Gloria Talamantes)

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will offer free rides on New Year’s Eve to encourage people heading out to celebrate the New Year to take transit and avoid driving. CTA will offer free rides on all buses and trains beginning 10 p.m. Sunday, December 31 until 4 a.m. Monday, January 1. MillerCoors’ Miller Lite is sponsoring the free ride program for the sixth year in a row.

In addition to free rides, CTA will offer extended hours of operation and increase the frequency of service on several bus and rail routes, making CTA an even more convenient, safe and affordable travel alternative for Chicagoans celebrating the New Year.

During the free-ride period, customers do not need to touch their Ventra or personal bankcards at rail station turnstiles or while boarding buses. Signs will be posted reminding customers of the free ride period on bus fare boxes. Ventra readers at rail stations will be turned off and will not read any cards between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. As in past years, no refunds will be issued if customers elect to touch their fare card or another form of payment on fare-card readers during the free-ride period.

As part of the sponsorship, Miller Lite covers the cost of all rides taken, plus the operating costs to run CTA service during the hours in which the promotion is offered. Last New Year’s Eve, CTA provided nearly 97,000 rides between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

For customers traveling to and from events around Chicago this New Year’s Eve outside the free ride period, the CTA recommends purchasing fares in advance, which will decrease travel times and avoid long lines at rail station vending machines. Customers can load ahead of time transit value or unlimited ride passes (1-day, 3-day, 7-day and 30-day) to their Ventra fare cards at rail stations, online or at nearly1,000 local retailers (locations available at ventrachicago.com).

Customers can also pay their fares with their personal contactless debit or credit cards and add value to their accounts by using the Ventra App, available for free download via www.ventrachicago.com, the App Store, and Google Play.

Full travel details are available at transitchicago.com/alerts. CTA recommends allowing plenty of travel time and purchasing fares and unlimited-ride passes ahead of time. More information about purchasing fares is below.

Extra New Year’s Eve Service

  • Rail: Red, Blue, Green, Brown, Orange, Yellow and Purple lines
  • Bus: #4 Cottage Grove, #6 Jackson Park Express, #22 Clark, #29 State, #65 Grand, #66 Chicago, #79 79th Street, #124 Navy Pier and #151 Sheridan

United Center Events
Indiana Pacers vs. Chicago Bulls – Fri. 12/29 at 7 p.m.
WGCI Big Jam – Sat. 12/30 at 7:30 p.m.

  • Rail: Green, Pink and Blue lines
  • Bus: #19 United Center Express, #20 Madison, and #50 Damen

Stay in the Loop on CTA Service
Plan your trip using the Google Transit Trip Planner. Be sure to also check out CTA on Facebook or Twitter(@CTA) for system travel updates and alerts. For details about all CTA service, call 312-836-7000 or visit the CTA website at transitchicago.com.

NOTE: All CTA bus and rail service will operate on a Sunday schedule on both Sunday, December 31 – New Year’s Eve and Monday, January 1 – New Year’s Day.