Seniors on the Go: Visiting a U.S. city? Go transit

Chicago transit

Chicago transit (Chuck Berman / Chicago Tribune)

If your spring and summer travel plans include a big city, presumably you don't need or even want a rented car, and you probably don't want to pay for taxis everywhere you go. So check the transit options. Fortunately, transit systems in many big cities offer a variety of all-day and multi-day transit passes that allow you to use buses, light rail, subway and even suburban railroads without having to pony up a separate fare every time you want a ride. Many cities offer senior deals, although you may have to obtain special senior ID. Here's a rundown of the options available in 10 of the top domestic destination cities. In most cases, the qualifying age for seniors is 65; a Medicare card is accepted as senior ID for fare payment or senior ID card.

Chicago (transitchicago.com; metrarail.com)

Subway base fare is $2.25 per ride; $5 from O'Hare; bus $2 per ride. Unlimited subway and bus pass: $10 for one day, $20 for three days, $28 for seven days. The one-day pass pays off only after five rides; the three-day pass is a better bet. Senior fares approximately half off; register for RTA reduced fare permit at around 200 centers in the area. Subway serves O'Hare and Midway.

Metra suburban rail fares based on distance; unlimited weekend pass, $7, no weekend service on some routes. Senior fares about half off; RTA permit required.

Las Vegas (rtcsnv.com/transit; lvmonorail.com)

Bus on "residential routes" base fare $2, $5 for 24-hour pass; half price for seniors, requires special ID card, apply at transit office. Bus along "Strip" $6 for two hours, $8 for 24 hours, $20 for three days, no discounts.

Monorail: Base fare $5. Unlimited passes: 24 hours $12; two-day $22, three-day $28, four-day, number 36, $5-day $43, seven-day $56; no discounts. Monorail is more fun but less convenient than Strip bus.

Los Angeles (metro.net)

Subway, light rail and bus: Base fare $1.50. Unlimited day pass $5. Senior day pass for travelers 62 or over $1.80, single ride 25 cents off-peak, requires Senior TAP card available in advance by mail (forms online).

New Orleans (norta.com)

Streetcar and bus: Base fare $1.25, senior $0.40. Unlimited passes one-day $3, three-day $9.

New York City (mta.info)

Subway and bus: Base fare $2.50; senior fare $1.25. Unlimited passes seven-day $30.

Long Island and Metro North Regional rail: Base fares based on distance; seniors pay 50 percent of peak fares (about 33 percent of off-peak fares).

People-mover plus Long Island or subway serves JFK, people-mover plus heavy rail serves Newark.

Portland (tri-met.org)

Light rail and bus: Base fare $2.50, $1 senior. Unlimited passes one-day $5, $2 for seniors; seven-day, $26 regular, $7 senior. Light rail serves airport.

San Diego (sdcommute.com)

Light rail, bus. Base fare: $2.50 for rail, $2.25 for bus; senior 60 or over half price. Unlimited passes one-day $5, two-day $9, three-day $12, four-day $15, one-day including heavy rail, $12.

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