Public Train/Bus Transportation

the el and metra platform in evanston

CTA Trains

The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) operates trains (the "L") and buses throughout Chicago and the surrounding areas. Below are some common route options, or check out the CTA's Trip Planner for other suggestions.

Purple Line: Gets you around Evanston and into Chicago. Transfer to the Red Line at Howard, or weekdays during rush hour take the express all the way downtown. Purple Line runs north from Howard 4:30 am to 1:00 am weekdays, with service extended until 1:48 am Friday and Saturday nights. The last southbound train from Linden leaves at 1:20 am weekdays and 2:08 am Friday and Saturday nights.

Red Line: For service to and from Chicago transfer at Howard to the Red Line. The Red Line runs 24/7, and the longest wait between scheduled trains is only 15 minutes.

U-Pass: The Graduate School (TGS) and CTA provide the CTA University Pass (U-Pass) to all full-time students in TGS. The U-Pass is a discounted fare card that replaces cash/other transit cards for all CTA fares. It is offered as part of the Activity Fee charged to full-time students enrolled in a TGS program.

CTA #201 Bus

Students, faculty, staff, and anyone else with valid Northwestern University photo identification can ride the CTA #201 bus for free. The #201 bus route extends from the CTA Howard station to the Evanston campus, with stops in the Evanston business district, at Ryan Field, and all the way down Central Street to Old Orchard Center and back. This service replaces the Ryan Field shuttle and offers more buses, longer service hours, and extended routing.

If you have a U-PASS, please continue to use it as normal to access the #201, rather than displaying your WildCARD. If you do not have a U-PASS, simply present your WildCARD to the CTA bus driver to ride. This free access is only valid for the #201; WildCARDs will not be accepted on any other CTA bus routes. View service hours and a route map for the #201 here.

Metra Trains

Metra is the Chicago area's commuter rail service. Metra provides service on 11 train lines to 228 stations in 6 counties in northeastern Illinois. There are three Metra stations in Evanston at Main St., Davis St. and Central St. all of which are on the Union Pacific North Line with service from Chicago to Kenosha. The Metra can take you to the concerts at Ravinia, or into downtown Chicago in only 25 minutes.

Pace Buses

Pace is the Chicago area suburban bus service providing bus coverage to Evanston, Chicago, and the rest of Chicago's six-county metropolitan area.

Going to O'Hare? Take the Route 250 Dempster St. Bus with service from the Davis St. Purple Line station to O'Hare.