New Prepaid Fare Payment Coming to the Westbound #77 Belmont at the Belmont Blue Line Stop
As part of our continued efforts to improve service and reliability for riders, we're launching a six-month pilot to test prepaid fare payment at the westbound #77 Belmont Blue Line bus stop during evening rush periods.
Starting Monday, June 6, you’ll no longer wait to pay your fare onboard the westbound #77 Belmont bus at the Blue Line station. During the evening rush period (3pm to 7pm), you will be able to pay your fare in advance of boarding so you can get on your bus and get to your destination more quickly.
While prepaid boarding is in effect, customers heading west on the #77 will be required to have purchased a fare in advance and board buses from a designated area. The designated boarding area will be defined by temporary fencing and will feature weather protection as well as nearby mobile fare equipment. The area will also be staffed by designated CTA employees similar to train stations to help assist customers.
The setup at the westbound #77 stop during periods when prepaid boarding is in effect will be similar to how a CTA ‘L’ station works – before you board a bus, you’ll tap your farecard to enter a designated waiting area. You can pay using fare value in a Ventra Transit Account on a Ventra card, ticket, or other valid fare media such as a contactless bankcard or RFID-enabled smartphone. Once in the ‘paid area’, you will be able to enter and exit buses freely, increasing the speed and efficiency at the bus stop. When the bus arrives, just step on board, similar to how you board the train. Note that outside of evening rush periods, when prepaid boarding is not in effect, you will pay your fare onboard the bus as before.
The pilot is expected to provide customers with faster boarding, and reduce bus delays that occur from the high volume of customers during evening rush periods. Current boarding times during evening peak periods can take as long as 5 minutes due to heavy ridership and with buses operating every 4 to 5 minutes, backups and bunching can occur and lead to delays all along the route. Moving the fare payment off of the bus will speed boarding, moving buses through the terminal faster and reducing delays for every customer across the route.
The pilot will run during summer and fall 2016. The CTA then will determine whether to conclude the pilot, extend it or make the service changes permanent based on analysis and customer feedback.
How will I pay my fare?
When you arrive at the #77 westbound bus stop at the Belmont Blue Line station, you’ll see signs guiding you to a designated fare collection area. Tap your Ventra Card, ticket, or other valid fare media on the yellow dot on the Ventra reader, just as you do on the bus or at a rail station turnstile. Then enter the designated paid waiting area, which will be delineated with fencing and signage. When the bus arrives, just step on board.
When will I pre-pay my fare?
Prepaid fare payment will be in effect from 3pm to 7pm on weekdays. At all other times, pay your fare on board the bus.
What if I’m going east, toward the lake?
Eastbound boarding will not change. Just board the eastbound bus as you usually do along Belmont. We're only conducting a limited pilot test on westbound #77 service at this time.
I need to put money on my Ventra card before I can pay my fare—what should I do?
You can reload your Ventra Card anytime at ventrachicago.com, using the free Ventra App (available for download and use on Apple and Android smartphone and tablet devices via ventrachicago.com, the App Store and Google Play), at a Ventra vending machine, or at hundreds of Ventra retail locations. For your convenience, we’ve added a Ventra vending machine at street level near the bus boarding area; there are also vending machines located downstairs in the Blue Line station mezzanine and at all other CTA rail stations. You can also reload or purchase Ventra cards at retail locations throughout the city – Ventra retailers can be found at ventrachicago.com/retailers/locations.
I prefer to pay cash when I board the bus—how will I pay my fare?
Fare payment is faster and easier with a Ventra card, and only a Ventra card can be used to pay for transfers. If you prefer to pay cash, tell the CTA employee on duty that you want to pay cash to board the bus. The employee will provide you with a special Ventra card and direct you to the nearby Ventra vending machine. At the vending machine, load $2 or more on the Ventra card, depending on how many fares you want to be able to pay. You can then tap the loaded card at the Ventra reader and proceed into the paid waiting area.
Where can I send my questions and comments about this change?
We always welcome your feedback! Please contact us with any questions or comments about prepaid fare payment, including cash fare payment procedures. You can reach us by phone at 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282) or by email. You can also write us at CTA, 567 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661.