CTA - Chicago Transit Authority
Paying a Fare

How-To Guide: Paying your fare

It's easy to pay your fare. On buses, you pay as you enter the bus. At train stations, you pay as you pass through the turnstiles before reaching the boarding area.

See also: Fares

Ventra ReaderPaying with Ventra Cards or Ventra Tickets

Simply touch your card or ticket to the lower part of the Ventra reader on top of train station turnstiles and on buses.

When you touch your card, you'll hear a sound that indicates the card was read, and then a second sound along with a screen that tells you to "Go" or "Stop."

Since Ventra is based on industry standard payment technology, take your Ventra Card out of your wallet to be sure the correct card is charged.

See Fares for complete details.


Tips for using your card

Take your card out of your wallet

Whenever you pay your fare, be sure to take your card out of your wallet.

Unlike the old system, Ventra is based on open payment standards and can accept contactless cards issued by banks for payment, too.

To avoid "card clash" or accidentally offering a different card for payment, simply take your Ventra Card out of your wallet when you board.

Touch your card directly to the reader

To make sure your card is read properly by the reader, touch it flat against the reader.


Paying for Multiple Riders

If you're traveling with other people, Ventra Cards can be used for up to seven people at once.


Paying Full Fares with Cash

If you don't have a farecard, we also accept cash and coins.

On the train

At all CTA 'L' stations, you can buy a new Ventra Card (effectively free, once registered) or disposable, Ventra Tickets using bills and coins at vending machines.

Add cash value at vending machines to Ventra Cards or personal, contactless bankcards and your fares will be deducted as you use your card (full fares or transfers).

All Ventra Vending Machines also allow you to load value and unlimited ride passes to Ventra Cards with either cash or cards.

On the bus

On the bus, you can pay for a one-way fare in cash. Exact change is required (no change is given). Buses accept $1 bills and most coins (no half-dollars). Transfer is not available when paying in cash on the bus. If you need to transfer, use a Ventra Card or Ticket.


More Information

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Phone: 1-888-YOUR-CTATTY: 1-888-CTA-TTY1Website: transitchicago.com