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How to use public transportation in Chicago

Chicago Public Transit Entrance

Our guests always ask us how to get around in Chicago. Our answer is that it's actually really easy, but we understand that the public transit system can be intimidating for newbies, especially those from small towns with no public transportation, or without trains and cabs. 

Here''s a brief primer on how to get around in Chicago using public transportation.

How to Use Public Transporation in Chicago:  A Transit Guide

First thing's first - Chicago is a walkable city and all of our units are in wonderful walking neighborhoods. If you're looking for a taste of Chicago, don't be afraid to venture out on foot and get a taste of the sights and sounds of the city!

But, as Chicagoans we are rightfully proud of our train system, which we call The El. That stands for "elevated train" but refers to all of the subways as well. It's also referred to as the CTA, which is short for Chicago Transit Authority.

The El is clean, fast, and affordable, with rides costing just $2.25 per passenger to go as far as you want. You'll need to buy a Ventra Card to use the train, and you can buy those from machines located at ALL train stations. Load your card with $20 and you'll be able to use the same card throughout your stay. You can also get 1-day, 3-day, or 7-day passes.

You can also use the Ventra card on city busses, which also cost $2.00 per passenger. If you transfer from a train to a bus, or vice versa, it costs just .25. Busses also take cash. 

Check out the CTA's How-to Guide for more information on ridiing the trains and buses, and view bus and train maps here.

Taxis and Ride Services

All At Home Inn units are located in neighborhoods frequented by taxis, so you should have no problem finding a cab on the street. But, ride-share services Uber and Lyft are increasingly popular. Simply download the Uber or Lyft app on your smartphone and you'll be able to hail a cab from your unit and watch on the map as it makes its way to you. 

Now, if you want to go the traditional way and hail a cab, herre's a tip – don't pay attention to the light on the cab! 

What does that light mean? Well, if the light is on, it's supposed to mean that the cab is available, and if it's off, it's supposed to mean that the cab has passengers. 

Reality? That light means nothing. Light or no light, hail at the cab by raising your hand and looking at the cab. If he's full he'll just keep driving, you just keep hailing! 

Also, cabs must accept credit cards, so don't worry if you're short on cash, and don't let a cabbie force you to pay cash.


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