Chicago is a great city to live in for renters without a car. There are various forms of public transportation and other options to help you get around the city. In addition to the bus, el and taxis the past few years have seen new concepts like Divvy bikes and car sharing programs show up. Here are some of the best options for getting around Chicago.
The CTA is an extensive network of public transportation options. Buses run down many of the major streets and make it easy to get from end to end. The “L” is also a good option, with many stops clustered in the Loop, surrounding neighborhoods and several lines that go further out. The system is fairly comprehensive, so most Chicago apartments will allow you to choose between bus lines and “L” options.
Getting from one part of the city to another using the CTA is a simple matter of using your Ventra card. The Ventra card replaced the Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus a few years back as a streamlined system for CTA users. By purchasing the Ventra card from a transit station, you can easily add value on the go so you don’t need to worry about exact change.
To order a Ventra card online or to manage your account go to: https://www.ventrachicago.com/
Divvy bikes are great for those who enjoy getting exercise while in transit. Divvy is a new bike sharing program that allows you to rent bikes by the hour. Many commuters are using them as a means to get to and from work. The Lakeshore Trail is an excellent bike path that extends from Evanston down past the loop, making it a convenient jumping off point for most commuters.
If you plan to use Divvy Bikes frequently it’s worthwhile signing up for a Divvy bike membership. A Pedal Membership to Divvy costs $75 a year and allows you to use a bike for 30 minutes or less as much as you want for the year.
Taxis and Uber
Traditional taxis are still an option and, if you have the budget, they can be one of the quickest ways to gain access to a vehicle. In most areas all you need to do is step outside and raise your arm to get a taxi. In the past five years or so app-based cab services have appeared, such as Uber. Using a simple phone app you can request anything from an amateur driver to a limo to pick you up from your location. Both Uber and taxi services are convenient because it only takes a few minutes from the time you place the call until you get picked up. This is especially useful if you are spending time in one of the further out areas of Chicago.
While Uber is primarily app based you can sign up and check rates online at: https://www.uber.com/cities/chicago
If you need to make several stops in one day, such as running errands, a Zipcar is one of the easiest options. With a Zipcar membership, you rent the car by the hour when you need it. Zipcar handles the maintenance of the car and the gasoline. If you need to fill up the tank Zipcar has a special card in the car to do so, so you don’t need to spend your own money.
Zipcar rates are much more affordable than owning your own car in the city if you only need a car a few days a month. Between maintenance, gas, insurance, car payments, parking costs, potential tickets and city stickers having a car in Chicago really adds up. There are Zipcars available for rent throughout most of the city so it’s to locate and reserve a car. Take a look at Zipcar’s map to see how plentiful their cars are: http://www.zipcar.com/chicago/find-cars
In short, there are plenty of options for traveling through Chicago if you don’t have a car. Many Chicago apartments offer you great access to the transit lines so that you’ll be able to get around with ease. Living without a car in Chicago can simplify your commute if you decide to take the El or bike to work. In addition, there are many public transit options that can take you to the surrounding metro areas.