CTA Customers Using Unlimited Ride Passes or Chicago Cards Continue to Ride in 2006 at 2005 Fares

December 29, 2005

CTA officials today reminded customers that although cash fares increase by 25 cents on January 1, most fares will not change. Only customers who continue to pay their fares in cash will see an increase of 25 cents to ride, as will customers who use CTA's magnetic strip transit card on the rail system.

Fares will not change for customers who use a magnetic strip transit card on the bus system or unlimited ride passes on either bus or rail, and for customers who use either the Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus on bus and rail. These customers will also continue to be eligible to transfer throughout the CTA system, but cash transfers will no longer be allowed.

"The real news for many CTA customers is that nothing will change on January 1. If you ride the bus and pay with a magnetic strip transit card, nothing will change ? your ride will still cost $1.75, and you can continue to transfer for 25 cents to bus or rail. It is the same for customers who use any of the unlimited ride passes and the growing number of customers who use Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus," explained CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?CTA offers a range of fare media to customers that allows them to select the best option for their budget and that meets their travel needs."

To make it easy for customers to switch from cash to farecard, both the Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus are available to customers at no cost through March. And, to further improve the ease of using a Chicago Card, CTA has partnered with 65 Currency Exchanges throughout the service area where customers may now go to add value to their cards.

?Using cash on the system is more time consuming for customers and processing cash adds to the cost of operations," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?Reducing the amount of cash used on the system helps to speed service for customers and improves the efficiency of CTA operations, two areas where CTA is continually looking to improve."

Information on where to purchase CTA fare media and where customers may add value to Chicago Cards is available on the fares page of CTA's web site at www.transitchicago.com.

Currently more than 200 non-CTA outlets such as Currency Exchanges, Jewel-Osco and Dominick's Finer Food stores that already provide other types of CTA fare media also offer Chicago Cards. Customers may also purchase fare media at CTA's main office at 567 West Lake Street from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., via mail, online at CTA's web site or by calling CTA Customer Service at 1-888-968-7282 (1-888 YOUR CTA).

Since the fee waiver went info effect on December 1, the CTA has distributed over 7,500 Chicago Card Plus cards and nearly 15,000 Chicago Cards in just three weeks. Early results indicate that customers are also taking advantage of the Touch-n-Go locations to reload their cards with 1,715 transactions for a combined total of more than $23,000 at Currency Exchanges from December 1 to December 27.

As of December 24, there were 244,667 Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus cards in circulation. Of those, more than 108,000 are Chicago Cards and 135,000 are Chicago Card Plus.

Value is stored on a Chicago Card, just as it is on a magnetic strip transit card, but it offers additional features such as the option of fare balance protection and faster boarding. The Chicago Card, like its account-based counterpart Chicago Card Plus, resembles a credit card and enables customers to simply touch the card against a target on bus fareboxes and rail turnstiles, and go. The extra seconds saved for each customer make travel even more efficient as those seconds add up and shave time off the boarding process for everyone.

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