In a city like Chicago, it happens a lot. And it doesn’t matter whether you’ve lived here for years, a couple weeks, or you’re just passing through for a few days.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. Fortunately, navigating the city’s unique neighborhoods has never been easier, thanks, at least in part, to technology. While technology continues to have an impact on the way public transit options are constructed and run, the secret to putting it to work for you is in the palm of your hand.
Here’s a rundown of the top three apps to help you navigate the Windy City:
“Unlock a bike, unlock Chicago,” the Divvy home page reads. And users of the bike sharing app agree. Divvy is Chicago’s bike share system, with 580 stations and 5,800 bikes spanning all of Chicagoland.
The fun, affordable way to experience Chicago offers various pricing options, including an annual membership for regular users.
To ride, new users simply select the pricing option that works best for them, find an available bike nearby, take as many short rides as you want and return your bike to any station.
The award-winning Ventra app has transformed the way many Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace customers purchase fares. Users may now buy multiple-day passes, add value to their cards and manage their accounts from their mobile device.
And paying with Ventra just got easier, as it’s mobile wallet feature was recently launched.
The CTA announced in May that the Ventra app added Apple Pay as a way to purchase CTA and Pace fares and Metra mobile tickets, providing additional convenience for transit customers.
“We are pleased to partner with Apple Pay to offer our users a faster, more convenient way to purchase their choice of transit fare,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “At CTA, we take every opportunity to leverage existing technology for the benefit of our customers so that they are able to pay their transit fare as easily and conveniently as possible.”
Launched in 2015 as the first transit app in the country that allowed customers to pay for rides on multiple transit systems, the free Ventra app has been downloaded 2.8 million times. Nearly 45 percent of all Metra tickets are now purchased via the app, according to a CTA press release.
“The free app was developed and launched by the CTA in partnership with Metra, the Chicago area’s commuter rail system, and Pace, the suburban bus system,” the release reads. “Future phases and upgrades to the app will offer additional services and conveniences.”
This one may seem obvious, but it’s a must for anyone that would prefer to experience Chicago in the passenger seat of a vehicle instead of on one of the main public transit options.
Simply request a driver, select the kind of vehicle you’d prefer and submit and within minutes a qualified Uber driver will take you wherever you need to go. The same goes for Uber Eats, which has one of its largest delivery scopes in Chicago.
And let’s face it, after all that exploring, the idea of having some delicious food delivered right to your door sounds pretty appealing.
After all, it’s easy enough to feel lost in the big city, regardless of how long you’ve lived in it or how long you’re visiting. Instead, think ahead, download these helpful apps and enjoy the city for everything it has to offer.