Welcome to Metra, the commuter rail system serving the Chicago area. We want you to think of us as My Metra, because Metra belongs to all of us. We are part of your community, bringing families together, driving economic growth and opportunity and, of course, safely carrying you where you need to go.
Metra has 11 lines with 242 stations radiating from downtown Chicago to the six-county area of northeast Illinois. Trains run frequently during rush hour and about every hour during off-peak times. This New Riders Guide will help those who are new to the Metra system or who want to get reacquainted with it.
Planning a trip
Metra's website makes it quick and easy to find out which line best fits your destination and your schedule. If you don't know which line is closest to you, don't worry. Go to our System Map and click on the "Search" tab on the upper right corner of the map. Enter your location and we'll tell you which station is closest to you. If you know which line you want to use, click on the Maps & Schedules tab and select your line to bring up a schedule finder tool for that line and your selected day of travel. Schedules vary depending on the day of the week you plan to travel: weekday, Saturday or Sunday. Sunday schedules are also in effect on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you prefer to speak with a Metra representative, you can call our Passenger Services Department at 312-MY-METRA (312-696-3872) or the RTA Travel Information Center at 312-836-7000 . They'll be happy to answer your questions. You can also use the RTA Trip Planner.
Metra uses a distance-based fare structure consisting of four fare zones to determine the cost of One-Way Tickets, Day Passes, Day Pass 5-Packs and Monthly Passes. (Riders are charged based on the number of zones they travel through.) Click here to see a system map with fare zones. To determine your fare, you must know your originating station, your destination station, and the type of ticket you wish to buy. Two passes sold for weekend use cost a flat rate: the Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Day Pass is $7 and the Weekend Pass (available on the Ventra app only) is $10. Details about each ticket type can be found here.
All ticket types except Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Day Passes and Weekend Passes weekend passes and day passes are available at a reduced rate for K-12 students, seniors, low-income riders and other special classes as described here. Use the fare calculator here to see the cost of each type of ticket, full fare and reduced, between your selected origin and destination stations.
If you prefer to speak with a Metra representative, you can call our Passenger Services Department at 312-MY-METRA (312-696-3872) or the RTA Travel Information Center at 312-836-7000. They'll be happy to answer your questions.
Metra offers a few different ticket options including One-Way Tickets (a single, one-way ride), Day Passes (unlimited travel for a single day between the zones you select), Day Pass 5-Packs (five Day Passes that can be used on any five days within 90 days of purchase, available in the Ventra App only) and Monthly Passes (unlimited rides in a calendar month between your selected zones on weekdays and systemwide on weekends). On weekends, Metra offers a $7 Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Day Pass (unlimited rides on either Saturday or Sunday or Holiday) and a $10 Weekend Pass (unlimited rides on both Saturday and Sunday, available on the Ventra App only). Metra also has reduced fare rates for seniors, customers with disabilities, low-income riders, military personnel, families, students and children. For detailed information regarding all of Metra's fare programs, please go to the Fares page.
There are several ways to purchase tickets:
Most full and reduced ticket types are available from vending machines at all downtown stations and the busiest outlying stations. Click here to see which stations have vending machines.
On The Train
One-Way Tickets and Saturday/Sunday Day Passes can be purchased with cash on the train. However, if a vending machine was available at the station where you boarded, the conductor will charge an additional $5.
There is a summary of where to buy each type of ticket here.
Monthly permit and daily fee parking is available at most train stations. However, Metra does not manage parking at most stations. Rather, the municipality in which the station is located usually manages the lots; each has different parking rules and regulations. For information about parking at each station, please call the phone number listed on each station page. Parking lots not operated by municipalities or their vendors generally are operated by SP+ Parking. SP+ Parking operates parking facilities at select locations in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. SP+ Parking offers both daily and monthly parking options to meet Metra riders' parking needs.
For more details about parking at Metra stations, please go to our Parking page.
Riding the Train
Be sure to arrive at the station early so that you have time to park your car and purchase your ticket. Be advised that times listed in Metra timetables are departure times from each station, not arrival times; please plan accordingly and give yourself time to be in position on the platform. If a vending machine is not available at the station when you board, you can buy a ticket on the train from a conductor without penalty. You also can buy a Metra mobile ticket on your smartphone with the Ventra App. Download the FREE app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. When the train arrives, simply get on board, find a seat and, if you have a paper ticket, place it in the metal clip in front of you. (If you are riding on the upper level, the clip is on the side of the privacy panel.) If you have a mobile ticket, show the ticket on your smartphone screen when the conductor checks for tickets - you will be asked to tap the screen to verify the ticket is valid.
Let the conductors know it's your first time traveling aboard Metra, and they'll be happy to help you if you have any questions or concerns about your trip. Announcements are made before each stop. When you hear the message announcing the approach of your stop, pick up your ticket and any items you brought with you and head to the vestibule to disembark at your final destination. Customers who are hearing impaired may want to notify a conductor about their stop during ticket collection.
Bikes are permitted on trains. For rules, procedures and restrictions about bringing bikes on Metra trains, please go to our Bikes on Trains page.
Metra has also introduced new Bike Cars. Click here for details.
- All Metra lines are fully accessible. Most stations are also fully accessible or have partial ADA accessibility. If you are in need of assistance, you should call ahead to check the level of accessibility at the stations you plan to use, or go to the Accessibility page for a list.
- Monthly permit and daily fee parking is available at most stations. However, Metra does not administer permit parking at most of the stations. Each municipality in which the station is located has different parking rules and regulations. For further information, see our Parking page or the appropriate station's section on this site.
- We offer reduced rates for groups of 25 or more. To find out about our Group Travel call a Group Travel representative at 312-322-6772 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please be advised that your group's payment must be received at least two weeks prior to your trip.
We welcome your suggestions. If you have additional questions or comments about how we can further improve our service, please use our Contact Us form or call or write:
Metra Passenger Services
547 W. Jackson Boulevard, 14th Floor
Chicago IL 60661
Join the conversation online at:
Thank you for your interest in Metra. We look forward to welcoming you aboard.