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Traveling with Kids

Jefferson Lines supports our families traveling together. Below you will find information about traveling with kids, fares and discounts, child safety seats, age requirements and guidelines for unaccompanied minors. 

Unaccompanied Children

Children between ages 12 and 16 years old can travel alone (unaccompanied) subject to the following restrictions:

  1. An Unaccompanied Child Form must be completed at the station at the time of purchase so that the child passenger’s ID can be verified, Jefferson Lines can receive consent for the child to travel, and a designated person is assigned to pick up the child at the destination.
  2. The trip should be direct (no transfer of schedules or buses).
  3. The trip cannot exceed a maximum of 8 hours of travel each way (outbound or return) and must occur during the hours of 7:00AM and 8:00PM.
  4. The origin and destination stations should be fully serviced Jefferson Lines stations (no curbside stops) and the station should be open when the child’s bus is scheduled to arrive. Please see Bus Stops for station information.
  5. The child must have and carry with him/her a copy of the signed Unaccompanied Child Form, giving them permission to travel.
  6. The person named on the Unaccompanied Form who is picking up the child must present positive photo ID, such as a driver’s license or state issued ID. Without the correct ID, the child may be released into the custody of Child Protective Services or to local law enforcement.
  7. Tickets for unaccompanied children can only be purchased in person (not online) at the departing Jefferson Lines station.
  8. A $15 one-way and $30 round trip fee must be paid at the point of purchase for each child traveling unaccompanied.

Unaccompanied Child Form: The parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child must complete and sign the Unaccompanied Child Form, in person at the originating Jefferson Lines station, authorizing the child to make the trip. The form must be returned to the station manager on duty. The form specifically names the person authorizing the trip, the designated person meeting the child at the destination station, and the telephone number(s) at which both persons may be contacted. It must also provide an emergency contact name and telephone number in the event it is needed.

Important Travel Information for Children

  • All children and young adults should be prepared to produce a photo ID with proof of age to avoid being refused from traveling on Jefferson Lines.
  • Children’s fare will be based on the full fare paid by the accompanying adult and cannot be combined with other discounted fares or special promotions.
  • Children’s fare may not always be available.
  • No children’s fare will be honored for tickets destined for casinos.
  • State of Illinois only – No tickets will be sold for interstate or intrastate transportation of unaccompanied minor children under the age of 17 from locations within the state of Illinois.
  • Children ages 2-16 are not allowed to travel in to or out of the U.S. unless accompanied by someone 17 years of age or older.
  • Children under the age of 2 are not allowed to travel unaccompanied.

Fares And Discounts For Children

The subsequent rules are the basis for determining children’s fares. The carriers reserve the right to refuse to transport children from their origin, when the supervisory of such children is inadequate by the judgment of the supervisory personnel of the origin carrier.

  1. Under 2 Years of Age: One (1) child who has not reached his or her second (2nd) birthday can travel for free when accompanied by a passenger who is at least seventeen (17) years of age and will not occupy  a seat of their own (the child can sit on the accompanying passenger’s lap). For children under 2 years of age who will need to occupy a seat to the exclusion of another passenger, please see restrictions for “Ages 2-16.”
  2. Ages 2-11: All passengers who have not reached their twelfth (12th) birthday must be accompanied by a passenger of seventeen (17) years of age or older. On select routes, children ages 2-11 receive twenty percent (20%) off the full adult fare when traveling with a passenger seventeen (17) years or older paying full adult fare and on the same itinerary (both outbound and return). Limit two (2) children fare tickets per one (1) adult fare ticket. Additional children ages 2-16 in the travel party may be subject to paying the full adult fare.
  3. Ages 12-16: On select routes, children ages 12-16 receive twenty percent (20%) off the full adult fare when traveling with a passenger seventeen (17) years or older paying full adult fare and on the same itinerary (both outbound and return). Children age 12-16  are allowed to travel unaccompanied but with certain restrictions, including completion of the Unaccompanied Child Form and must comply with the guidelines regarding the transportation of Unaccompanied Children as outlined in the Policy Affecting Unaccompanied Children.

Child Safety Seats

Customers are welcome to use child safety seats if traveling with kids on Jefferson Lines buses. Parents traveling with kids two years of age or younger who do not require a ticket may travel with the child in the adjoining seat at no cost unless seating capacity becomes an issue. At that point the driver will ask the customer to hold the child and check the car seat underneath the coach to make room for ticketed passengers. To guarantee use of the adjoining seat, the space must be purchased at the discounted child fare. You should ensure that your child seat has been approved for use in a motor vehicle and is used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

It is your responsibility to secure the child seat to the bus seat with strapping or webbing that is approved by the child seat manufacturer. You are responsible for providing the strapping or the webbing when traveling with kids on Jefferson Lines. You should also secure your child in the child seat with a manufacturer-approved lap and/or shoulder belt/harness. Jefferson Lines does not provide lap and/or shoulder belts/harnesses.