CTA Launches Student Smart Card Test Program with Chicago Public Schools

April 10, 2008

The Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are collaborating to test smart cards for high school students who take public transportation. The pilot program was presented to the Chicago Transit Board today and is part of CTA's continued commitment to provide a convenient travel environment for customers and improve overall service.

"CTA is pleased to partner with Chicago Public Schools to make traveling on CTA as convenient as possible for students," said CTA President Ron Huberman. "The smart card reduces the number of cards carried by CPS students and makes it faster and easier to board, thereby helping improve travel times for all customers. Smart cards also help CTA cut down on administrative costs and further reduces the use of cash and wear and tear on fareboxes."

"Many of our students use the CTA to get to and from school each day, and the smart card test will give our students a chance to play an important role in improving their own commute," said Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan. "And because being on time for school every day is critical to our students' success, the smart card's tracking capabilities will help to keep our students safe and accountable."

The smart cards will be tested by approximately 1,900 students attending Carver Military Academy, 13100 S. Doty Avenue, and Prosser Career Academy, 2148 N. Long Avenue from May 1 through June 20.

Under the current process, CPS students carry their student identification cards; a paper or magnetic student riding permit which is used to prove eligibility to use a reduced fare card; and a reduced fare magnetic strip card to pay the actual fare when riding CTA. Students will receive smart cards that will combine all three into one card and eliminate the need to pay with cash.

Students may add value to the card at any CTA farecard vending machine or Touch-n-Go locations and will continue to pay the reduced fare of $0.85 cents with an eligible transfer for $0.15. The cards function like CTA's Chicago Card in that they are stored value cards, where the value is maintained on the card.

Students may use the cards during the same hours as currently used with student riding permits: Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) from 5:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. when school is in session.

CTA will evaluate the success of the smart card test and if it proves feasible will work with CPS in an effort to implement the program at other high schools.

In 2007, CTA provided approximately 97,000 reduced fare riding permits to students.


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