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CTA #201

The Chicago Transit Authority's #201 bus (CTA 201) operates between the CTA Howard station and Westfield Old Orchard mall with stops in downtown Evanston, on campus, at Ryan Field, and along Central Street.

Northwestern Ventra Card

A University-issued Ventra card is required to receive free rides on the CTA #201 route during program dates, September 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024. The cards are available to those who have a Student, Faculty, or Staff Wildcard. If you were issued a card in the past your continued affiliation will be verified and the pass added to the issued card.

Graduate students enrolled in schools that offer the Ventra U-Pass do not need to apply for this #201 program. With the Ventra U-Pass, those graduate students have access to free rides on the #201. Applications submitted for the #201 program will not be processed for graduate students with a school issued U-Pass.

How to Obtain a University-issued Ventra Card

Request a card using the Ventra Card Request Form. Once you receive your Ventra card, register it online and add transit value (if you choose) to ride other CTA bus routes and the L trains. When you use the Ventra card on the #201 route during program dates, you will not be charged.

Getting Started with Your New University-issued Ventra Card

  • If you have an existing Ventra account, simply add this new card to that account.
  • Register your Ventra Card to protect purchased passes and transit value in one of three ways: by visiting the Ventra website, via the Ventra app available to download from the Apple App Store or from Google Play, or by calling 1.877.669.8368.
  • For added convenience download the Ventra app to monitor your account, to add transit value and passes, and to get real-time arrival/departure information for CTA, Pace, and Metra from your phone.

How to Use Your University-issued Ventra Card

  • Your University-issued Ventra card will function the same as any other Ventra card, meaning you can replace a Ventra card you currently use with the University-issued Ventra card. By registering all of your Ventra cards you can check and track transit value on all cards through the Ventra website or Ventra app.
  • When you use the University-issued card on the CTA #201 route, you will not be charged for rides within the program dates.
  • To use the card on other routes or on the L trains, add transit value and passes to your account. After loading funds onto the Ventra card, use it to travel on the CTA and Pace network.

How to Replace a Lost or Stolen University-issued Ventra Card

  • If your Ventra card is lost or stolen, you need to take two steps: (1) Call Ventra Customer Service (1.877.669.8368) to report the card as lost or stolen and (2) contact Transportation Services to request a new Ventra card. There is a fee to receive a replacement card.

Service Hours

  • Northbound from Howard CTA station (Red, Purple, Yellow L lines) to Old Orchard Mall:
    • Weekdays: 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
    • Saturday: 9:10 a.m. to 7:10 p.m.
  • Southbound from Old Orchard Mall to Howard CTA station (Red, Purple, Yellow L lines)
    • Weekdays: 5:50 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
    • Saturday: 8:55 a.m. 7:15 p.m.

Download the PDF schedule and map


This map shows the normal pattern for service along this route.

Bus Route 201 Map