Chicago – The CTA and Pace remind customers that as of this Thursday, May 1, they will no longer be able to do the following, as part of the transition to the new Ventra fare payment system:
- CTA customers will no longer be able to buy new magnetic stripe fare cards
- Customers will no longer be able to autoload/reload their Chicago Card/Chicago Card Plus
Most customers have already switched to Ventra, with 86 percent of all CTA rides and 61 percent of Pace rides now taken with Ventra.
The next major deadline in the Ventra transition is June 1, when customers can no longer reload magnetic stripe cards or use Chicago Card/Chicago Card Plus. CTA and Pace will complete the full transition to Ventra on July 1. For customers who still need to transition:
- Get a Ventra Card. Customers can easily obtain a Ventra Card at vending machines at CTA’s 145 rail stations; at more than 1,000 retail locations in Chicago and the suburbs; online at ventrachicago.com; and over the phone at (877) NOW VENTRA. Ventra ambassadors will help customers at select CTA rail stations this week.
- $5 Ventra Card fee waived at retailers, online and over the phone. The $5 one-time new card fee is waived through July 7 at the more than 1,000 drugstore, currency exchanges and other conveniently located retailers throughout the Chicago region that offer sales of Ventra Cards. The $5 fee is also waived for all online and phone orders for Ventra Cards. Ventra Cards obtained at vending machines in CTA rail stations require a $5 one-time new card fee, which is immediately refunded as transit value upon registration of the card.
- Weekly customer service/balance transfer events. Ventra continues to host customer service balance transfer events every Tuesday at CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake St., Chicago, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Customers have the opportunity to transfer balances from valid magnetic-stripe cards and Chicago Cards, obtain and register a new Ventra Card (with no upfront purchase fee), and have their questions answered. Assistance is available, too, for customers who have been issued Reduced Fare and Ride Free Permits by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).
- Community events. Customer service balance transfer events will be held on Thursday, May 8 at the Jefferson Park Library, 5363 W. Lawrence Ave., from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; and on Saturday, May 10, at Curie High School (cafeteria), 4959 S. Archer Ave., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Additional events in June are listed at ventrachicago.com.
- Chicago Card Plus online balance transfers. Chicago Card Plus customers can easily transfer their balances to Ventra online at ventrachicago.com. Chicago Card Plus customers who have not yet transitioned to Ventra can purchase a Ventra Card from a vending machine or retailer and transfer their Chicago Card Plus balance online after registering their new card. That process will also include registration of their card (allows the $5 fee to be converted into fare value on their card if purchased from a vending machine) and provides them with the benefits of registration, including balance protection and online account management.
Customers attending balance transfer events may bring a maximum of five eligible fare media cards with a combined minimum of $5 in transit value. Fare media that is eligible for balance transfers includes CTA and Pace stored value magnetic stripe full-fare and reduced-fare cards and Chicago Cards. Unlimited ride 1-day, 3-day, 7-day and 30-day passes, reduced fare passes, and passes sold in bulk cannot be transferred to Ventra cards and must be used up before July 1. Expired fare media will not be accepted. RTA reduced-fare permit holders must bring in their new Ventra RTA reduced-fare permit for a balance transfer.
Pace will announce a series of Ventra Card distribution events to be held at transit centers and key suburban transfer locations at which customers can receive a free Ventra Card and have their questions answered.
Later this spring, customers who wish to transfer unused balances on Chicago Card and magnetic stripe fare cards will have the option of mailing in their old unexpired cards and having any unused balance transferred to their registered Ventra Card. This will exclude unlimited-ride 1-day, 3-day, 7-day and 30-day pass products, which must be used up in advance of the full transition. The CTA will provide more details about the mail-in option later this spring. A mail-in option is available for Pace-only tickets and passes. Please visit PaceBus.com/Ventra for details.
Customers can visit ventrachicago.com for complete balance transfer rules and event dates, how-to-videos and frequently asked questions.