Fair Transit South Cook

Service Information


Since January 2021, Cook County has helped make public transit more affordable through the Fair Transit South Cook pilot program, which provides up to a 50% discount on fares for Metra Electric and Rock Island line riders. This successful program has helped the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines recover ridership lost during the pandemic more quickly than other Metra lines. The program has particularly benefitted lower income neighborhoods, which saw notable increases in Metra ridership relative to higher income neighborhoods. The results of this pilot are described in the annual reports for the program

Starting February 1, 2024, the Fair Transit South Cook program will transition to the new Access Pilot Program. Offered through a partnership with the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and Metra, this program will extend discounted fare benefits to income-qualifying passengers along every train line in the Metra system. Eligible riders who enroll in the Access Program will receive an approximately 50% discount on their Metra fares, regardless of which line or station they are traveling to or from in RTA’s six-county service area (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will) based on Metra’s 2024 reduced fare pricing

To qualify for the Access Program, passengers must live in a household that currently receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and resides in the six-county RTA service area. To sign up, passengers may visit GetAccess.org and follow the online instructions, call the RTA customer service hotline at (312) 913-3110, or visit one of 62 registration sites.

The Access Pilot Program will build on the success of the Fair Transit South Cook program, bringing affordable fares, not only to the Southland, but to residents across Cook County and the rest of the RTA service area. It also continues President Preckwinkle’s commitment to advancing equity. As Access advances, the County will also look to find additional funding that could allow the program to continue and expand to other transit agencies in the region. Cook County has committed $6 million to fund the Access Pilot Program until July 31, 2025.


Fair Transit South Cook Second-Year Report

Fair Transit South Cook released findings from the second year of the pilot program. Read the Fair Transit South Cook report to learn about the results.  

Findings within the report include:

  • The ME and RI lines continue to recover ridership faster than the other Metra lines, although by a smaller margin than the first year of the program.
  • An increase in number of riders coming from low-income fare zones relative to 2021.
  • On both ME/RI and Pace Route 352 Halsted, the majority of riders are using the program to get to work, although school and recreational/social trips make up a significant number as well.
  • Many riders would have driven if not for reduced fares on the ME and RI lines, which helped decrease pollution and congestion.
  • Pace Route 352 Halsted ridership held steady.


The Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways (DoTH), under the leadership of President Toni Preckwinkle, has established a partnership with Metra and Pace Suburban Bus to launch Fair Transit South Cook. 

The three-year pilot launched on January 4, 2021 and offers up to a 50% fare reduction on Metra's Electric and Rock Island lines as well as increased service on Pace Route 352 Halsted. The program seeks to benefit commuters in the County's south suburbs and on the south side of Chicago. 

Fair Transit at a glance:

  • Up to 50% off fares on Metra's Electric and Rock Island lines (savings is dependent on the Metra stop location).
  • Catch the Pace Route 352 Halsted bus every 10 minutes.
  • Anyone riding transit in the pilot area may take advantage of these initiatives.

View the increased service schedule for Pace Route 352 Halsted

View the reduced fare table for the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines.

Fair Transit Testimonial Video

The testimonial video is also on Cook County's YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/LXgD_a2LXgo