# Navigating Chicago with Ease Using Public Transportation
Whether you are a permanent resident or a tourist visiting the Windy City, Chicago’s transportation system can seem intimidating at first glance. However, with the right knowledge and tools, navigating the city using public transportation is easy and convenient. In this post, we will explore how to use Chicago’s public transportation system, including the CTA, Metra, and Divvy, and how to use different payment options to get around the city seamlessly.
## CTA – Your Ticket to Exploring Chicago
The Chicago Transit Authority, or CTA, is the primary public transportation provider in Chicago. It operates a vast network of buses and trains that covers the city and its surrounding areas. To get started with the CTA, you need to purchase a Ventra card, which is available at vending machines located at all CTA train stations and some bus stops.
Once you have your Ventra card, you can load it with funds and start using it to pay for CTA fares. You can also link your Ventra card to a mobile app, which allows you to purchase fares, manage your account, and even track the location of CTA buses and trains in real-time.
The CTA has several train lines that cover the city, including the Red Line, the Blue Line, and the Brown Line, among others. Each train line has multiple stops, which makes it easy to get to your destination. You can use the CTA website or the mobile app to plan your trip and find the nearest CTA station.
One of the best things about the CTA is that it runs 24/7, which means you can use it to get around the city at any time of the day or night. The trains and buses are clean, safe, and reliable, which makes the CTA a great option for exploring Chicago.
## Metra – Convenient Transportation for Suburban Areas
If you are traveling to or from Chicago’s suburbs, Metra is your best option. Metra operates a network of commuter trains that connect the city with its suburbs and neighboring states, including Indiana and Wisconsin. Metra has several stations located throughout the city, including Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center, which are located in the Loop.
To use Metra, you need to purchase a ticket, which you can do online, at a Metra station, or on board the train. Metra also offers a mobile ticketing app, which allows you to purchase and activate your ticket on your smartphone. Metra offers several payment options, including one-way and round-trip tickets, as well as monthly passes for frequent travelers.
Metra is a convenient option for those who want to explore Chicago’s surrounding areas, including Lake Michigan beaches, suburban neighborhoods, and historic sites. The trains are comfortable and spacious, and they offer a great view of the city and its suburbs.
## Divvy – The Best Way to Explore the City on Two Wheels
For those who prefer a more active way of exploring the city, Divvy is the perfect option. Divvy is Chicago’s bike-sharing program, which allows you to rent a bike from any of the 580 Divvy stations located throughout the city. Divvy bikes have three speeds, a basket, and a built-in lock, making them perfect for exploring the city at your own pace.
To use Divvy, you need to purchase a pass, which gives you access to unlimited 30-minute rides for a day, three days, or an entire year. You can purchase a pass online, at a Divvy station, or using the mobile app. Once you have your pass, you can unlock a bike from any Divvy station, ride it to your destination, and return it to any station within the network.
Divvy is a great option for exploring Chicago’s bike-friendly neighborhoods, including Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Pilsen. It’s also a convenient and eco-friendly way of getting around the city, as it reduces traffic, emissions, and noise pollution.
## Payment Options – Choose the One That Works Best for You
To make your public transportation experience in Chicago even more seamless, you can choose from several payment options that work best for you. Besides the Ventra card, the CTA also accepts contactless payment methods, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, which allow you to pay for your fares using your smartphone.
Metra also offers contactless payment methods, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, which makes purchasing a Metra ticket even more convenient. Additionally, Metra offers an automatic reload feature, which automatically adds funds to your Metra account when your balance falls below a certain amount.
Divvy offers various payment options, including credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal. You can also purchase a Divvy pass using a mobile app, which allows you to quickly and easily access the Divvy network without the need for a physical key or pass.
Chicago’s public transportation system is an efficient and convenient way of exploring the city and its surrounding areas. The CTA, Metra, and Divvy offer different ways of getting around, depending on your needs and preferences. By using the right payment options, you can make your public transportation experience in Chicago even more seamless and stress-free. Whether you are a tourist or a permanent resident, using Chicago’s public transportation system will allow you to explore the city and its unique neighborhoods with ease.