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Public Transportation in the Chicago Area

Updated on May 5, 2015
Flora Crew profile image

Flo is a "professional student" with degrees in psychology and an assoc. in computer programming and operations. She grades papers online.

It takes some experience to explore Chicago thoroughly via public transportation.

Leave that bike snowed in tonight. Check out public transportation for the next couple of days. Brrr. It's cold.

In this lens, I am going to explain some of the ins and outs of getting around in the Chicago area via public transportation. If you don't have a car and can't afford to take a limo or taxi everywhere you go in the Chicago metropolis, you still have some options. There is the Metra System, the CTA system of buses and trains, and the Pace bus system. Chicago has also recently expanded its bike lanes in the city, and there are a number of bicycle paths through the forest preserves. Other options are Divvy Bikes and the Southshore train which goes out of the state to Indiana and beyond. There is also an Amtrak train to Milwaukee.

Divvy Bikes
Divvy Bikes

Divvy Bikes

Chicago's Bike Connection

For people visiting the city or those who are squeamish about taking there own bike there exists a new bike rental program as well. It is called Divvy Bikes. You can rent by the hour or for $75 get a membership with 30 minute trips at no extra charge. For people with their own bikes, their bike can now be taken aboard public transportation. During non-rush hours, the CTA and Metra trains allow two bikes per car. CTA buses and Pace buses allow two bikes per bus at all times. Divvy Bikes have recently come to Chicago. They can be rented by the hour and dropped off at another Divvy location without having to be brought back to the original location that the bike was rented from. The stand to the right is near the Armitage el in downtown Chicago. I took the picture on my cell phone camera in January of 2014 when I went by there on my way to Anixter, where I volunteer as a tutor.

Bus, train, bike - Getting around in Chicago

Morse El Stop in Chicago
Morse El Stop in Chicago

The Metra train covers transportation to the north and northwest suburbs from Chicago and back as well as trains to the south of Chicago and Indiana. The CTA covers transportation by train and bus mainly in the city proper while the Pace buses goes serve the suburbs. When I first came to Chicago the CTA trains had A and B stops. That was very confusing. I had a dental appointment at the Wellington stop. I was supposed to transfer from a redline B train to a brownline A train at Belmont. I kept passing it by. I was frantic. In those days there were no cell phones. So, I used a lot of quarters to get directions to that appointment. Now we have cell phones and all stops for the red and brown lines on normal schedules.

In case, you are wondering, to the east of Chicago is the Lake--Lake Michigan that is. It makes it easy to get around because you only have to remember three sides instead of four. Ha!

At the bottom of the page are a video of the Pace 208 schedule and another video of the Pace 250 schedule. The 208 goes from the Davis Street CTA Station in Evanston, IL to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL. When school is in, it goes into the Oakton Community College Des Plaines campus. It goes through parts of Evanston, Skokie, Morton Grove, Niles, Glenview, Des Plaines and Arlington Heights and Rolling Meadow to get to Schaumburg.

Pace Buses - Pace 208 and Pace 250 Videos

I live in Evanston, the first suburb north of Chicago. The Davis street el is about two miles north of Howard, the last el stop on the redline. Here are two pace bus they take you west from the el. The 250 video is a little outdated.

The 208 bus goes from the Davis Street el to Oaakton Community College before going to to Oakton.

Pace bus 250. This is kind of old. The 212 has been discontinued

Metra Video - Northhwest line through Arlington Hts from Chicago

This is the train that I took when I lived in Des Plaines and Arlington Hts and when I worked at the Arlington Heights Goodwill.

This is cool. It shows the trip from the cab-car. The first stop it shows is Arlington Hts, then Mount Prospect. After the Mt Prospect stop, the train stays on the main track but there is a track that veers off for freight trains and that track goes by the house I lived in when I lived with Violet in Des Plaines.

Bike lanes come to Chicago and Evanston - Share the road gets more clout!

Chicago and Evanston have both added bike lanes to their city streets. Biking is hopefully becoming more viable as a means of transportation.

Dearborn Street runs parallel to the lake from North to South and goes near

Chicago businesses in the loop.

Here is the plan!

Evanston now has a bike lane in the downtown area too.

Chicago Transportation Photos - Getting around in Chicago and its surrounding areas.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is taken from my bike riding up the hill to get to Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, IL.This is a picture of the Linden "el" station in Wilmette.  It is the end of the line for the "Purple" train.This is a picture of me on the Armitage el platform in Chicago.  One can catch a redline train, a purple line train or a brown train there.Sometimes I have to dig my bike out after a snow!This was taken on New Year's of 2014. Some snow may have come from the street cleanersI posed with my bike before digging it out on New Year's of 2014.Arlington Heights Metra Station at night.
This is taken from my bike riding up the hill to get to Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, IL.
This is taken from my bike riding up the hill to get to Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, IL.
This is a picture of the Linden "el" station in Wilmette.  It is the end of the line for the "Purple" train.
This is a picture of the Linden "el" station in Wilmette. It is the end of the line for the "Purple" train.
This is a picture of me on the Armitage el platform in Chicago.  One can catch a redline train, a purple line train or a brown train there.
This is a picture of me on the Armitage el platform in Chicago. One can catch a redline train, a purple line train or a brown train there.
Sometimes I have to dig my bike out after a snow!
Sometimes I have to dig my bike out after a snow!
This was taken on New Year's of 2014. Some snow may have come from the street cleaners
This was taken on New Year's of 2014. Some snow may have come from the street cleaners
I posed with my bike before digging it out on New Year's of 2014.
I posed with my bike before digging it out on New Year's of 2014.
Arlington Heights Metra Station at night.
Arlington Heights Metra Station at night.
Source

Amazon Links To Public Transportation - Help for getting around in Chicago via public transportation

Books to help get around.

My Amazon wish list shows books and maps on public transportation and an ad for a bike as well. I recently moved to the Southside of Chicago, and have greatly expanded my horizons. It takes about an hour to get from 79th South to the Howard el, the most north stop on the Redline. I did not realize Chicago could be transversed that quickly! The north-south route is easier than the east-west route by public transportations but the Blueline does go northwest to O'Hare airport.

Any tips on getting around in Chicago are welcome.

Southside of Chicago

I just moved to the Southside of Chicago, and can talk more about transportation from that area now. I live near the Halsted Street Bus, and can take it all the way to the Northside. The Halsted #8 bus connects with the Clark Street bus #22 just south of Belmont. I can catch the Clark Street bus north to Howard, and then walk from there to visit my Hommies in Evanston. Another way I can get there is to walk to 79th street, and take the 79th street bus east to the Redline. I can ride the Redline all the way to Howard, and without paying extra then transfer to the Purple line to go to Evanston and Wilmette.

Also, the Halsted Street has bike lanes even this far south (79th S). So, Chicago is serious about getting people to make use of green forms of transportation! How about it? Why don't you get you a bike a join the fun!


Does this help?

Do you think this hub helps with using public transportation in Chicago?

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Evanston Express

The Evanston Express is a train that goes from the Linden el in Wilmette all the way to Chicago. Currently it runs only in the morning and evenings during the rush hour. This summer there will be a trial run in which the Evanston Express will be estended later in the evening.

Evanston Express Train Stations

Source
Source

Flo's Guestbook Comments - It's all about transportation.

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    • Flora Crew profile image
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      Flora Crew 3 years ago from Evanston, Illinois

      @Old Navy Guy: Yes, it is very accessible. When I worked, I used to take taxis but now that I am mostly retired, I use the other plentiful transportation. Thanks for liking my lens and also for your comments.

    • Old Navy Guy profile image

      Old Navy Guy 3 years ago

      I've traveled to Chicago on business many times and have found the public transportation easy and accessible for any and all. Trains, buses, cabs, and the El. Thanks for sharing a look at the city.

    • Flora Crew profile image
      Author

      Flora Crew 3 years ago from Evanston, Illinois

      @sierradawn lm: Thank you very much. You are so kind!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 3 years ago

      I have never been to Chicago but I delighted in my journey there through your beautiful lens!