Amie B: Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

So before the polar vortex and the second polar vortex and so much snow, I would primarily ride Divvy bikes and walk around the city. Now, I take the heated protection of the city’s public transit system. The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) offers buses and trains for us city dwellers to get around. As a Loyola student, we get a “U-Pass” with our student fees. This U-Pass gives us unlimited access to all public transit throughout the semester. Hop on a bus or a train, swipe the card and we are off!

The “L” is our subway system that is both above and under ground. All the trains go into the city and circle the “Loop” and then they go back out to the neighborhoods. Click here to get a visual. The different lines are titled by colors, not by numbers. For example, the Red Line has a stop, Chicago, right near the law school. So many Loyola students tend to live off of the Red Line for an easy commute.

Though it is always easy to get to the city center by train, going east and west is where the buses come in. I personally prefer the bus. I like looking out the windows and hopping on and off at whim. There are over 100 different routes and I can track all of them on my “All Aboard” app. I pick a bus route and it uses GPS to locate me and tells me when the buses are coming. This way I can stay inside my apartment for as long as possible, dash out and catch the bus with minimum time in the cold.

Unfortunately when I made my switch to CTA, so did most of Chicago. In the hopes to avoid being outside or driving in bad weather conditions, people have chosen public transit and consequently CTA has been overly crowded. I have stood at a bus stop and watched three full buses go by, too full to stop. The next day I thought I would try the “L”, only to have two trains go by before I could fit in. So despite all my app maneuvering, sometimes there is just no way to avoid the cold.

Metra trains getting ready to take me home. They have special plows attached to the front to get through the snow.

Metra trains getting ready to take me home. They have special plows attached to the front to get through the snow.

For the longer distance trips out to the suburbs, we have the Metra system. Though Metra is not on the CTA system, meaning that we cannot ride with our U-Pass, it is a very affordable way to get to the suburbs. Again, all the trains start in the Loop at Union Station or Ogilvie Transportation Center and sprawl out all throughout the surrounding counties. This is how I get home to see my family. It usually costs $10-$14 round trip and takes about an hour. Pretty great way to avoid the traffic and needing a car.

So until the weather breaks, I will be taking the CTA with my U-Pass to school.  I miss the days where I could bike to school in ten minutes or enjoy a nice stroll to a friend’s place. I have missed it so much that I actually have attempted to bike ride a few times and my efforts have not been unnoticed. Divvy awarded me the Bronze Medal for biking more than five times from December 16- February 16. True grit.

Questions for Amie? Email law-admissions [at] luc [dot] edu with the subject “Ask Amie” and she will make sure to answer them.

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