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CTA, Pace Set To Roll Out Ventra Card

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 30, 2013 3:15PM

2013_3_26_ventra.jpg Chicago Card and Chicago Card plus users: the moment is nigh. CTA and Pace announced Monday that open-fare system Ventra will launch Aug. 5 for Chicago Card holders, university students enrolled in the U-Pass program and Chicago schoolchildren.

The first universities to receive Ventra cards are Rush Medical School, Westwood College of Technology and Northwestern University School of Law, with other colleges and universities receiving cards later next month in time for the start of school. CTA students will receive their Ventra cards prior to the first day of school Aug. 26. (Summer vacation is fleeting, isn't it?)

CTA mailed 100,000 notices to Chicago card customers this month warning of the switch. Customers who received notices of the switch from CTA and validated their addresses will receive their Ventra cards the week of Aug. 19. The agency encourages Chicago Card Holders to verify their account information is up to date by visiting or by calling (888) YOUR-CTA. All other customers will be able to switch to Ventra Sept. 9.

Ventra will allow transit riders to pay for fares on CTA and Pace through either a single-fare card, a credit or debit card if it contains contactless technology. But the system has proven controversial because of the option to use Ventra as a pre-paid debit card and a litany of service fees associated with it. CTA tried to alleviate those fears by eliminating the debit card option for students, senior citizens registered in the reduced-fare program or low-income seniors and disabled individuals eligible for free transit rides. The cost of a single-fare ride will increase from $2.25 to $3 because of the cost of producing the new contactless cards.

All previous Chicagoist coverage of Ventra.