Embark CTA – Train – Chicago L Navigation App Review (iOS, Free)


Languages: English

Seller: Embark, Inc.

- Updated Schedules
- Bug Fixes

Customer Ratings

Current Version:
11 Ratings
All Versions:
287 Ratings


Embark CTA is an application for the CTA 'L' train system in Chicago. It is essential to all 'L' riders — from the occasional to the daily, the tourist to the commuter.

It even works without cellular signal!

It includes:
- A trip planner (no internet required)
- Station information
- Scheduled arrivals
- A handsome multi-touch 'L' system map
- Service advisories


Feedback is greatly appreciated at support@letsembark.com

Note: Embark CTA is not funded by or directly affiliated with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). These applications were made by two public transit riders who wanted to make the 'L' easier to use for all riders.

Customer Reviews

  • Couldn't live without it!

    by Brightredcrayon

    Yes, it doesn't have bus schedules, but it's perfect for taking the L! The trip planner has been such a lifesaver for me! One of the next best parts about it is definitely the fact that it lets you plan ahead with what time the train will be arriving. Does it have perfect timing? No. But no app is gonna know exactly when the train is gonna show up. I'm really not sure why this gets such low reviews because I've told all of my friends to get this app and they love it. Keep up the good work, Embark!

  • Route-creator and locator are winning features

    by ChristiePS

    Best aspects of this app are (1) the route creating feature, and (2) the location services which allow you to find your nearest train station. But it is essentially just an interactive version of a paper map with a gps built in. CTA's Train tracker beta is better because what you really want to know is: WHEN IS MY TRAIN COMING?!?

  • Really helpful app

    by linda23523

    I've found this app to be really helpful - thanks!

  • Must-Have for ALL Commuters

    by Hot-Rod Mama

    Both the embark CTA and Metra apps are absolutely amazing.. This is a must have app for any commuter whether Chicago native or tourist..... The schedules are accurate and real time and alerts are almost instant for delays GET THIS APP

  • Good for CTA trains only

    by ApplemanG3

    If you need anything but trains schedules, find something else. Otherwise, it works fine.

  • Trip planner not working

    by Milin-di-An

    Unfortunately the thing I would like to use most doesn't work.

  • Works pretty well

    by Checker Player

    Could you please update it so that it's real similar to the NYC app you have? Touch the map to start here and end here. Thanks

  • Just moved, needs help

    by michaelmoves

    Trip planner not working

  • Great App, Great Team

    by Jman2785

    After realizing that I initially used this app incorrectly, I have nothing but good things to say.The Live arrival time is spot on, but be sure to check Live Arrivals aside from using theTrip Planner. Ian was super quick to respond to my inquiries and proved that he and the rest of the Embark team put out a great product.

  • Great app. Perfect for Chicagoans

    by DannyPeru

    Most people that complain about this app are not from Chicago and don't know the stops. This app works great for me.

  • reviews are biased and silly

    by holycalamitybrian

    the latest reviews for the app are either from inferior competitors, or absolute morons. this app deserves no less than 4 stars. the title clearly states that it is used as a reference for the "L", not the bus system. the logo is even an L. to provide a negative review based solely on your inability to understand the purpose of the app, is plain ignorant. they apparently are considering a bus reference, but until then it is only used for trains. it does this very well. it's minimal, very attractive, and well designed. no clutter and no ads. contrary to reviewer stupidity, the trip planner is incredibly easy to use. it is probably not the best reference for visitors, as you must be familiar with what stop you're at and where you're going. so, big deal? it's for residents, and doesn't have bus support. that's what it is, and it does it well. accept that, or use other options. don't be a child, and affect someone else's hard work by reviewing with 1 star, and unintelligible rambling.

  • Accurate and helpful

    by catcatfishfish


  • Essential for 'L' riders

    by saturnjt

    I just moved to Chicago from New Jersey and this app has been a great tool!

  • Accurate and reliable.

    by DooBeeWa

    Outstanding App. Gets me the info I need quickly and reliably. ++++

  • Great public transport app!

    by Brozbty

    This is one of the best "L" apps out there!

  • Easy to navigate

    by SausagePeddler

    Use it every day with minor problems relating to long load times

  • Flipping AWESOME!

    by Q-G1

    I love this darn app!!

  • Great Timesaver/Planning App!

    by Melissa Huth

    Perfect for people planning ahead and the chronically late!!!

  • App suggestion

    by Shobewan

    Great app. One suggestion that might make it even better-- show not only the time of the next train, but the one after that. It will give folks a chance to see what their options are if they can't make the time of the immediate arrival.

  • Worth the download

    by ShelbAnn__

    Really easy to use, up to date info...great substitute for the hot mess that is Apple Maps thus far

  • Horrible

    by rojambo

    Many bugs, inconsistencies and just plain incorrect information

  • I'm lost

    by Yew Arele

    Honored as the briefest lived app in my history. It couldn't be more than a college freshmans mid-term project. Don't

  • Not helpful for locals

    by chicagochik

    Need to add the bus system

  • Not helpful for locals

    by chicagochik

    Need to add the bus system

  • Trip planner does not work.

    by mitch (real one)

    Thanks for the consistency, embark.

  • Only L and fixed schedules?

    by Huskiefan38

    Dumb, why would it not have busses. And it had to download schedule updates... Although cta is never on time so good luck working on a fixed schedule app

  • Incomplete data

    by KM45698

    No bus info.

  • Terrible

    by Jason A. Scanlon

    No bus info, weird long routes, glitchy relationship with Maps... anybody that knows the cta can tell something is up and will just search google or something. I feel bad for anybody that does follow one of these idiot itineraries.

  • Dumb

    by cmcgauran

    What's the point if you can't enter two addresses or even one? I suppose we are supposed to just guess which stations are near which addresses we are trying to get to and come from?

  • Don't waste your time

    by Arcoms

    It is only good if you know your way around Chicago

  • I hate you

    by Michael Harber

    And all your inbred cousins. If I knew the exact route I would like to take then I wouldn't need. And here we are, I can't use you so you are of no use to me. Why did crappy apple have to sell this feature to third parties??!?!

  • Of seriously limited value without busses in Chicago


    Just that. Trains are great, and I prefer them, but there are lots more busses than trains here. I can't pass routing queries from Maps to Embark CTA if it's only going to give me 30% of the CTA options.

  • Terrible app- DO NOT BUY

    by Lauren, Chicago Commuter

    Seriously the most pointless app, doesn't even show all the trains. For example, I take the purple line to work and when I check the Diversey schedule, purple doesn't show up. What a waste

  • No purpose

    by Angry_traveler

    This app serves absolutely no purpose for those taking public transportation, other than to show arrival times between stops among the different train lines. I am not sure how this was thought to be an improvement to google maps, but it definitely makes me miss the old google maps. If you want to know travel times between stops then this app is for you. However, if you would actually like travel directions from point A to point B, then I'm not sure this app serves that purpose.

  • The worst app ever!

    by Eduardoo07

    I miss google map ! Great idea from apple

  • Ok...

    by Timmy1988

    Great idea but... The location services do not work almost ever. Also the station names are in alphabetical order but some have two and it is difficult to find if you don't know both. This could be easily fixed with a search feature. Finally, because I downloaded the app on the last night of the month, I could not look at schedules for the next day. I had to wait until the 1st for the new schedules to download. This was very inconvenient and did not allow me to plan.

  • CTA maps

    by KatyChi

    This app is not helpful. I miss google maps.

  • No replacement for google maps

    by Emily ANA

    This only takes you from CTA station to CTA station- no buses! What's the point?

  • Bad directions

    by Tech Support

    Google maps did a great job with public transit. This app does not. Only gave me train option, not buses.

  • You get what you pay for...

    by JimmyJewels

    One has to know the train stops in order to use this, no bus information, no door to door info. Skip it.

  • Nice!

    by phroqake

    I love this app

  • Bus support!

    by Polpoljjd

    Buses buses buses!

  • Buses

    by rjhopjr

    This is great in theory, but without being able to track buses, it's practically pointless.

  • Good but crippled without Bus support

    by Notacapulet

    Title says it all.

  • Straight Up CTA 'el' App

    by johnnnytk

    Pick a color, a stop, which way you're going, and it'll tell you what's up.

  • Perfect - No problems

    by Triplesevin

    Quick, easy, awesome on the go!

  • Bus schedules

    by Katie Stull

    Need bus schedules too!

  • Just OK

    by Hsidnrjsjsf

    Include bus routes and a map please.

  • Great for locals, could be a problem for others

    by dlfTheCritic

    Good, comprehensive, accurate info organized by station, not line. Without an integrated map you must know the name of your stop and where you are headed. Easy info to find out but may frustrate stressed visitors on the go

  • Annoying

    by AnotherCtaApp?

    I already had a transit app and it was annoying to download a second that doesn't even give you the fastest route, plus the trip planner doesn't make any sense. I do like how it's written out for u but no map with it? I don't understand why they can't just combine it with maps for one app. I hate how it separates. I'm in the city, In constantly using transit.

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