CTA, City of Chicago, and Chicago Public Library to Integrate Ventra and Library Cards into City’s Municipal ID Card

September 13, 2017

Innovative pact provides a “3-in-1” benefit to municipal ID cardholders; Will allow Chicagoans to use their city-issued ID card to load fares and ride CTA and also use the ID as a Library card

Chicago will become the first U.S. city to offer a municipal ID card that can be used to load and pay public transit fares under an innovative agreement between the City of Chicago, acting through its Office of the City Clerk (OCC), and CTA that will firmly establish Chicago, CTA and the CPL at the forefront of efforts to make cities more welcoming and inclusive.

“An individual’s background should never be a barrier to participating in the economic, social or cultural vibrancy of Chicago," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "Today we are a step closer to ensuring all residents – whether immigrant, homeless or returning citizen - have the identification they need to access the resources they deserve."

The Chicago Transit Board on Wednesday approved a partnership between the City and CTA that will integrate Ventra into the city’s municipal ID cards, which are expected to be issued starting December 2017. By including a transit card as part of their municipal IDs, Chicago residents can more easily and conveniently access CTA and potentially reduce barriers to riding transit.

Municipal IDs will function just like regular Ventra cards, offering the ability to load any Ventra fares/products at vending machines, retailers, online and via the Ventra app.

“We are proud to join Mayor Emanuel and City Clerk Valencia in developing the City’s Municipal ID program, and help connect Chicago residents with public transportation in addition to important City services,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We believe that joining this program will reduce the barriers some residents may have to accessing transit in our City, which links people to jobs, education and opportunity.”

The CTA will provide the City blank Ventra cards on which they will print the municipal ID cards. The City will reimburse the CTA for the cost of the cards.

“By partnering with the CTA, municipal ID cardholders will now be connected to Chicago’s vast public transit system,” said City Clerk Anna M. Valencia, whose office is tasked with developing and administering the program. “This is just one of the ways that the municipal ID will create access and integrate services for cardholders.”

In addition to connecting the cards with Ventra, municipal ID cards will also be connected to the Chicago Public Library (CPL) system. Chicago residents will be able to use the ID card to open an account with CPL or sync new or existing library accounts so that the ID can also physically serve as a library card.

“The Library’s core value revolves around providing access and we’re excited to be part of an initiative that enables us to better serve communities by making our resources even more accessible to all Chicagoans,” said Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon.

In April 2016, the City Council passed an ordinance that allowed for the creation of a Municipal ID Program for all Chicago residents, regardless of immigration or housing status, criminal record, or gender identification. To support the implementation of the municipal ID, the Mayor’s 2017 Budget allocated $1 million in funds to the program.  The City expects to issue the first municipal ID, which will be accepted by all City departments as a proof of identification, before the end of 2017.


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