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CTA, Pace To Complete Transition To Ventra By July 1

By Lisa White in News on Mar 14, 2014 4:35PM

Photo credit: Stephanie Barto

Prepare to mourn, you last few folks clinging to your Chicago Cards and fighting against the Ventra overlord. The Chicago Transit Authority and Pace announced today that the full transition to the Ventra fare payment system will be complete by July 1. They've released the full transition calendar, which will take part in three phases.

  • On May 1, customers can no longer buy magnetic stripe cards, auto load or reload Chicago Cards and Chicago Card Plus.
  • On June 1, customers can no longer reload magnetic stripe cards or use Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus.
  • And lastly, on July 1 customers can no longer use magnetic stripe cards. Pace customers paying with cash will no longer be given a transfer card and all customer will be transitioned to Ventra.

Chicago Card Plus customers enrolled in the CTA’s Transit Benefits through their employers and O’Hare employees using the temporary O’Hare smart card are transitioning the first week of April, and will receive specific instructions through their employers according to a statement released by the CTA. During the transition, CTA and Pace will offer numerous options to help riders transition to Ventra, including distribution events and some mail in options.

According to data released by the CTA and Pace, currently 81 percent of CTA customers and nearly 60 percent of Pace customers are using Ventra and currently 1.5 million Ventra accounts are currently active.

CTA and Pace have worked with Cubic Transportation System to improve Ventra's overall operations, which despite the occasional hiccup and impatient driver giving you a dirty look, is moving along much smoother compared to the initial nightmare roll out. While some customers have still had problems with double charges, negative balance or cards simply not working, we've thus far had a decent experience (knock on wood) and hope that once the transition is complete, the focus will shift to being on the system itself, how customers are handling it and how it can be improved. Hopefully not wishful thinking on our part.