The Chicago Transit Authority, Pace and Metra will all offer free trips arriving at downtown stations on the evening of New Year's Eve, the agencies announced.
From 10 p.m. Friday until 4 a.m. Saturday, CTA will offer free rides on buses and trains for the New Year's Eve holiday, allowing for passengers to travel in a "responsible and safe way," officials said Wednesday.
For rider opting to take transportation outside of the free ride period, the CTA recommended buying tickets in advance to decrease travel times and avoid long lines at rail stations.
On Friday, CTA buses and trains will operate on a Sunday schedule for the holiday. After the promotion, all CTA lines will return to a normal schedule on Saturday.
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Pace suburban bus will also offer free rides from 10 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday on their fixed route and ADA paratransit services, the agency added.
For Metra riders, any passengers arriving at Chicago's Ogilvie or Union Station after 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 will not have to pay for a train ticket, as well, according to Metra.
“This year many people will be returning to traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations and it’s important that Metra is there to provide a safe mode of transportation for everyone who needs to travel on this holiday night,” Metra CEO Jim Derwinski said. “The past two years have been difficult for everyone, and the small gift of a free ride is the least we can do.”
On New Year's Eve, Metra will be operating on a Saturday schedule and will hold the final outbound trains on lines operating after midnight. Alcohol will be prohibited on trains after 7 p.m., Metra added.
"Family Fares," which allows for up to three children to ride for free with each paying adult on the weekends, will be available on weekdays from Dec. 20 to Dec. 31.
For Christmas Eve traveling, Metra will offer a $7 Day Pass, which will offer unlimited rides across the train system, according to a release.
Metra also announced the following service plan for the holidays:
- On New Year’s Eve, Friday, Dec. 31, all Metra service will be operating on a Saturday schedule. There will be no train service on the North Central Service, SouthWest Service and Heritage Corridor lines. In addition, on New Year’s Eve, Metra will also hold the departure of the last outbound trains on all the lines that are operating until at least 1:15 a.m.
- A Sunday schedule will be in effect on Saturday, Jan. 1 and Sunday, Jan. 2. There will be no train service on the North Central Service, SouthWest Service and Heritage Corridor lines on those days.