Stupid Questions re bus fares etc

You wouldn’t know it, but I’ve lived most of my life near Chicago. That said, since I’m a suburban girl, I haven’t kept track of the fares for the CTA. Are tokens still used? How much is the fare? I need to go from Randolph St station to St Joseph’s hospital (I think the 151 will get me there). How often do they run? Where can I purchase tokens?

Help! Thanks…
I will need to do this travel for about a week soon. Is there a weekly fare (like with Metra?). I could look all this up on the CTA website, but I’d rather ask folks who use the service. Thanks.

No tokens anymore. What you need to do is stop at the station and buy a ticket. You can put as much money on it as you want. Bring nice singles, the machines are picky. You insert the ticket into the turnstile machine, it deducts the fare then spits it back out.

I’d recommend getting it before you travel, otherwise Murphy will come by and break it right before you get there.

You can also stop by your grocers (Jewel, Dominicks, etc.) or a currency exchange and pick up a weekly card or a daily use card (unlimited rides for the day). If you pay cash on the bus, it’s $2.00 per ride (no more transfers). I think it’s $2.25 for the train. I use a Chicago Card, so my fare is 1.75 with .25 transfers. If you buy a “ticket” (bus card) at the train station using the machine, you can get the $1.75 fare. I think.

By Randolph St. station do you mean the Millennium Park Metra station? If so, your choices are:

  1. Pay cash on the bus - exact fare only. The fare until Jan. 1 is $2.00; from then on it’s $2.25. The 151 bus will take you from Michigan and Randolph to St. Joseph’s at Sheridan and Diversey. Bus frequencies vary by time of day; you can see a 151 map and schedule at:

  1. Buy a CTA fare card online - allow 10 days for delivery by mail. A 7-day pass (unlimited use for a week) is $20 now, $23 from Jan. 1 on. See:

You insert the fare card in the slot on the bus farebox and it pops back out in a second.

  1. Buy a 7-day CTA pass at the Millennium Station news stand:

Millennium Metra Station
312-540-1927 News & Views
151 N. Michigan Ave
(below ground in station)
Open daily 6 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.

The CTA also sells visitor passes from a vending machine in the Cultural Center, which is close to Millennium Station, but the 5-day pass that would be the best deal for you is being eliminated Jan. 1, so I wouldn’t go that route.

Hope this helps.

They changed the name of Randolph St station? The nerve–it’ll be Randolph St Station for me forever. Thanks, Ed, for the info. I think I’ll go with the News stand option–it’s the most convenient. No idea how LONG the bus ride will take, anyone?

Guess I’ll find out on Jan. 5. Thanks!

Looking at the schedule, and figuring a reasonable amount of waiting time, I think a half hour ought to do it. However, bus travel times can be highly variable, this time of year especially. Luckily, the 151 bus is part of the CTA’s “bus tracker” program, which tracks bus location based on GPS info - see:

If you have an iPhone, there’s a free “CTA Tracker” app that lets you find out how soon the next bus will arrive.

Um, any web-enabled phone can access bustracker, you can either just google it, or type into your address bar and it’ll come right up, no other apps needed.

Just want people to know they don’t need an iphone, just any web-capable one!

Everything else Ed said. If you get a fare-card, do make sure you use the fare-card slot on the bus, there are two similar-looking slots, one for cash and one for fare cards.

Turns out the cash-taking slot is not like a vending-machine picky cash-taker; it will suck anything down! We found this out the hard way when I gave my mom her own fare card to use - that I made a special trip to an el station to get for her and put 20 hard-earned dollars on for her and a friend to use while they were visiting. (this was before I had an internet-based ChicagoCard)

My lovely mother promptly stuck the card in the cash slot on the first bus she boarded. Card irretrievably sucked down and $20 gone! The driver was really nice and let my mom and friend board without paying cash on top of the lost fare card, but we had to go buy another one. I was soooo seethingly mad at her and it wasn’t funny until about a week later. I can laugh about it now, but I had a lot less cash flow then and $20 was a huge loss.

That is the kind of thing that happens to me all the time. Thanks for the heads up.
I’m a bit nervous about all of this. No idea why or what etc. It’s something people do every freaking day, and here I am, worried about it. This thread helped a lot, though. Thanks, all!

Just FYI: I did the trip today and it was great. I didn’t buy a bus ticket yet, but the driver I had on the morning 151 was so nice. The trip back was smooth as well–I caught the 540 with about 2 minutes to spare! All in all, a painless trip–I LIKE having someone else do the driving.

Well, good. Some weather coming in, though, so it may not always be so easy.

BTW, it’s still called Randolph St station. It’s also called Millenium, though. :rolleyes:
Weather? What is this weather of which you speak? :eek: (off to find out)

They finally added the Armitage bus to the gps capable list. yay. happy dance

That is so awesome! I had no idea it existed and it makes me want to take the bus:)
Who am I kidding? I’m about to go for a ride on my motorcycle! Yay 60 degree days!