Amtrak Welcomes Chicago RTA Transit Checks

CHICAGO — Frequent users of Amtrak trains to and from Chicago can save money by buying tickets using special “Transit Checks” issued by their employers through the Chicago-based Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).

Effective today, Amtrak will accept the checks that list Amtrak among the area transportation providers.

Amtrak accepts RTA Transit Checks for the purchase of multi-ride tickets that are perfect for long-distance commuters and others who make regular trips in Illinois. They are also usable for other routes, with many available connections through Amtrak Chicago Union Station.

“Although Amtrak does not currently receive funding from the Chicago RTA, we work closely with the RTA on several projects, including Union Station improvements and looking ahead to Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics,” said Don Saunders, General Superintendent of the Chicago-based Amtrak Central Division.

Amtrak is also a partner in the RTA’s Moving Beyond Congestion campaign and hosts an RTA Chicagoland TRIPS travel information kiosk at Amtrak Chicago Union Station.

“Ridership is growing on our corridors to and from Chicago and we appreciate the RTA’s decision to include our passengers in the RTA Transit Check program as another enhancement to our service,” Saunders added.

“”Expanding our Transit Check program to include Amtrak offers significant benefits for commuters traveling between Chicago and other destinations in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri or Wisconsin,” said Stephen Schlickman, RTA Executive Director.

“They receive tax advantages, avoid traffic congestion, and can use their traveling time more effectively for relaxation or catching up on briefcase work,“ he added. “Encouraging the use of Amtrak also helps to improve air quality and promote energy independence.”

The RTA Transit Checks can be used for the purchase of Monthly Tickets for the Hiawatha Service trains between Chicago and Milwaukee (seven round-trips daily, Monday through Saturday and six round-trips on Sunday).

The RTA Transit Checks can also be used to buy 10 Ride Tickets for the Hiawathas, along with Lincoln Service and other trains between Chicago and St. Louis (total of five daily round-trips); Illini, Saluki and other trains between Chicago and Champaign/Carbondale (total of three daily round-trips); Illinois Zephyr & Carl Sandburg trains between Chicago and Quincy (two daily round-trips); Wolverine Service trains between Chicago and Ann Arbor/Detroit/Pontiac (three daily round-trips); Pere Marquette trains between Chicago and Grand Rapids (one daily round-trip) and Blue Water trains between Chicago and East Lansing/Port Huron (one daily round-trip).
These named trains are operated by Amtrak under contracts with their respective state transportation departments (except Wolverine Service).

RTA Transit Checks are purchased by employers and distributed to employees. Checks may be purchased in any denomination from $10 to $110. RTA Transit Checks are tax-deductible to employers and a tax-free benefit to employees. The program puts money back in employees’ pockets by lowering their commuting costs and it helps employers support clean air, reduce traffic congestion and promote a more reliable, on-time work force.

Employers seeking more information about the RTA Transit Check program as a benefit to their employees should visit or call 800-531-2828 between 9:30 am and 7:30 pm. Central Time. The program is a low, or no cost, benefit for both employees and employers.

As of January 1, 2007, federal law allows individuals to set aside up to $110 in pre-tax earnings each month to pay for transit costs.

RTA Transit Checks are also accepted by the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra commuter rail, Pace suburban buses, the South Shore Railroad commuter service to and from Indiana and vanpools.