CTA & Pace Announce Steps to Ease Customers’ Transition to Ventra™

August 30, 2013

Agencies to provide opportunities for customers to transfer balances to Ventra cards; offer more details on fall transition dates to allow customers to plan ahead

As part of the ongoing rollout of the new Ventra fare payment system for both Chicago Transit Authority and Pace customers, the agencies today announced more information that will allow customers to easily prepare for the transition to Ventra.

Select customers began using Ventra in early August in a gradual rollout of the new Ventra fare payment system. On September 9, Ventra will be available to all CTA and Pace customers, beginning a transition to replace a nearly 20-year-old fare-payment system and offering transit customers the convenience and flexibility of using one card for all transit needs with faster boarding, easy account management and balance protection.

To make the transition simpler and to give customers plenty of time to plan for the conversion to Ventra, the following was announced today:

Multiple ways to get a new Ventra Card

All customers will be able to obtain Ventra cards as of September 9. The CTA and Pace are waiving the $5 one-time card purchase fee through the end of the year either online at ventrachicago.com, by calling (877) NOW VENTRA (1.877.669.8368) or in person at the Ventra Customer Service Center at 165 N. Jefferson St., Chicago, next to CTA headquarters. Customers who obtain a new Ventra card from Ventra vending machines at CTA rail stations or at hundreds of Ventra retail locations can easily have the one-time $5 fee immediately refunded as stored transit value on their card by taking a few minutes to register it online or by phone.

Some customers, including U-Pass holders and Chicago Card Plus and registered Chicago Card holders, have already started receiving their Ventra cards as part of a phased distribution. Chicago Public School students received their student Ventra cards on the first day of school, which was Monday, August 26.

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) will issue new Reduced Fare and Ride Free permits starting in mid-September. Chicago Card Plus and Chicago Card customers participating in the Transit Benefits program will begin to transition to Ventra starting in mid-September through the fall.

Balance transfers to Ventra

The CTA and Pace encourage customers to spend down their balances on current fare cards, which will be phased out this fall.

As a convenience to customers who want to transfer their balances from current CTA and Pace fare media, the agencies today announced 27 dates (see below) starting in mid-September through December 15, 2013 at multiple locations throughout the region to allow customers to have balances transferred from legacy fare media to Ventra cards, free of charge. Eligible fare media include stored value magnetic stripe full fare and reduced fare cards, and Chicago Cards. Period passes, reduced fare passes, and passes sold in bulk or any expired fare media cannot be transferred.

Balance transfers will be automatically loaded onto registered Ventra cards, which will be provided to customers at no cost. Customers must also complete a Ventra transit account registration form, which will be available on site or can be obtained from the Ventra Customer Service Center or downloaded from ventrachicago.com, starting September 9.

Customers may bring a maximum of five eligible fare media cards at a time with a combined minimum of five dollars in transit value on the cards to transfer to a registered Ventra card.

Customers who do not need to do a balance transfer and would like to obtain a Ventra Card with the $5 purchase fee waived can order a Ventra Card online at www.ventrachicago.com or at the Ventra Customer Service Center or by calling (877) NOW VENTRA prior to December 15.

No period passes (1-,3-,7-, or 30-day) will be transferred. These passes should be used prior to December 15, 2013. Balances on expired fare cards will not be transferred

From January through March 2014, customers who still wish to transfer their balances to their registered Ventra card will be able to do so by mailing in their old fare cards to the Ventra Customer Service Center. There are no limitations on the number of cards or value amount for the mail-in option.

Milestone dates for current CTA and Pace fare media products

The CTA and Pace provided the following key transition dates to help customers plan for their transition to Ventra:

September 9
  • Ventra is available to all CTA and Pace customers.
  • Chicago Card, Chicago Card Plus and magnetic stripe fare cards will no longer be sold online via CTA’s website
October 7  
  • Chicago Cards and Chicago Card Plus will no longer be able to have value loaded on to them, either online or at CTA rail station vending machines. (Update: Chicago Card Plus will continue reloading as it did, at this time.)
  • Rail station vending machines will no longer sell magnetic striped stored value cards or period passes.
  • Pace offers a new 30-day premium pass for customers using Ventra.
November 15
  • Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus will no longer be accepted on CTA buses and trains, nor on Pace buses.
  • Customers will no longer be able to add value to stored value magnetic stripe cards. They will need to spend down balances or transfer their existing balances to Ventra cards.
  • CTA and Pace will no longer sell magnetic stripe period passes. Customers need to use up existing passes by December 15.
December 15
  • The CTA and Pace will no longer accept any magnetic stripe fare cards.
  • Ventra replaces all CTA and Pace existing fare media.


For more information about Ventra and to obtain a Ventra Card, visit ventrachicago.com or call (877) NOW VENTRA (669-8368). Customers can also visit the Ventra Customer Service Center at 165 N. Jefferson St., Chicago, IL 60661 to learn more about Ventra. Sales of Ventra cards at that location begin September 9.

List of balance transfer locations:


Gage Park
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
2411 W. 55th St.
Chicago, IL 60629

Gompers Park
Thursday, September 19, 2013
5pm -8:30pm
4222 W. Foster Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630

McKinley Park
Saturday, September 21, 2013
2210 W. Pershing Rd.
Chicago, IL 60609

Fosco Park
Monday, September 23, 2013
1312 S. Racine Ave.
Chicago, IL 60608

Carver Park
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
939 E. 132nd St.
Chicago, IL 60627

Columbus Park
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
500 S Central Ave.
Chicago, IL 60644

Eugene Field Park
Thursday, September 26, 2013
5pm -8:30pm
5100 N. Ridgeway Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625

Warren Park
Saturday, September 28, 2013
6601 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60645

Arlington Heights
Monday, September 30, 2013
Pace Headquarters
550 W. Algonquin Rd.
Arlington Heights, IL 60005


Lindblom Park
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
6054 S. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60636

Forest Park
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Howard Mohr Center
7640 Jackson Blvd.
Forest Park, IL 60130

Hamlin Park
Thursday, October 03, 2013
5pm -8:30pm
3035 N. Hoyne Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618

Marquette Park
Saturday, October 05, 2013
6743 S. Kedzie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60629

Monday, October 07, 2013
4pm - 7pm
Transit Center
154th St & Park Ave.
Harvey, IL 60426

Portage Park
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
4100 N. Long Ave.
Chicago, IL 60641

Garfield Park
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
100 N. Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60624

Norwood Park
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
5801 N. Natoma Ave.
Chicago, IL 60631

Douglas Park 
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
1401 S. Sacramento Dr.
Chicago, IL 60623

Thursday, October 17, 2013
CTA Rosemont Blue Line station

Ogden Park
Saturday, October 19, 2013
6500 S. Racine Ave.
Chicago, IL 60636

Washington Park
Saturday, October 19, 2013
5531 S. Martin Luther King Dr.
Chicago, IL 60637

Humboldt Park
Saturday, October 26, 2013
1440 N. Humboldt Dr.
Chicago, IL 60622


Clarendon Park
Saturday, November 02, 2013
4501 N. Clarendon Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640

Owens Park 
Friday, November 08, 2013
8800 S. Clyde Ave.
Chicago, IL 60617

Foster Park
Saturday, November 16, 2013
1440 W. 84th St.
Chicago, IL 60620

Union Park
Saturday, November 30, 2013
1501 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60606

Tuley Park
Friday, December 13, 2013
501 E. 90th Pl.
Chicago, IL 60619

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