Chicago Transit Board Approves Testing of New Fare Pass

March 30, 2006

Pass Would Promote Use of Public Transit Among Convention Attendees

Chicago Transit Authority will test a new type of farecard as part of a pilot program designed to promote the use of CTA buses and trains to the millions of convention attendees that visit Chicago each year. The Convention Pass, or C-Pass, pilot will make its debut at this summer's 2006 Gay Games expected to draw thousands of visitors to the City of Chicago. The Chicago Transit Board today approved a 10-day pilot program for use of the C-Pass during the Games.

The Convention Pass pilot program will be implemented in conjunction with Chicago Games Incorporated (CGI), the group responsible for bringing the Gay Games to Chicago in July 2006. A Gay Games C-Pass will be provided to all registered participants of the games. The cards will have no value assigned to them and will be encoded with a fixed start and end date, from July 14 through July 23, 2006. CGI will pay CTA $150,000 up front for the cards and provide a database that identifies demographic information for each individual recipient.

"Almost seven million individuals come to Chicago each year for conventions or conferences and many of them are not familiar with the public transit options available for traveling around the city," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?The pilot will allow us to evaluate the use of prepaid farecards by attendees of the Gay Games and help make it easier for visitors to the city to use the system, as well as allowing CTA to increase its share of the visitor transportation market."

?The CTA is always looking for ways to maximize the use of our system and attract new customers," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?We have experienced success with similar programs and we believe the C-Pass pilot program will be just as successful and make getting around Chicago more attractive to convention participants."

C-Pass will benefit convention promoters and those who attend events. Visitors will have reduced transportation costs and the added ease and conveniences of being able to board any CTA bus or train without having to learn and understand transit fares.

Following the games, CTA staff will analyze C-Pass usage to calculate the market value of all rides taken. The market value of a ride is the regular full fare that would be paid for a comparable ride by a member of the general public during the period of validity. If the market value of the rides taken exceeds $150,000, CGI will pay CTA the difference.

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