Say Goodbye To Your Chicago Cards This Weekend

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 30, 2014 1:55PM

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Chicago Cards and Chicago Card Plus will go the way of the Dodo and the Edsel Sunday. That’s when CTA and Pace reach the next marker in their long transition to Ventra. Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus users will no longer be able to use their cards as of June 1. Additionally, public transit riders still using magnetic stripe farecards will no longer be able to add value to them.

CTA and Ventra expect to be completely switched over to the maligned shared-fare payment system by July 1. According to the transit agencies Ventra now accounts for 92 percent of CTA rides and 65 percent of Pace rides. Pace has a way to go to get the word out to their riders, apparently.

CTA will be holding customer service and balance transfer events at their West Loop headquarters (567 W. Lake St.) every Tuesday through June 24 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. where customers can transfer their balances from Chicago Cards and magnetic stripe farecards to new Ventra cards. The $5 new card fee continues to be waived through July 7. Other transfer events can be found on Ventra’s website.

If you don’t want to use Ventra, don’t fear. If you have a contactless credit or debit card you can use that to pay for fares. RedEye’s Tracy Swartz spoke with public transit riders who have been using their credit or debit cards to pay for fares, although it should be noted that Ventra currently does not offer users the ability to register a debit card with one’s account. Smartphones equipped with near field communication capability are also accepted by Ventra. Check your model to see if you have this ability unless you’re an iPhone owner; you all are currently SOL as iPhones don’t carry this technology.