Reflecting a continuing decline in the use of cash for 'L' fares, the CTA will remove change machines from 'L' stations beginning Friday, December 29. The machines were installed on a temporary basis to help customers make the transition from paying their fares with cash to using the CTA's Automated Fare Collection (AFC) system after its introduction 3 years ago. A recent survey found that only 4.7 percent of 'L' riders used cash to pay their fares.
Most customers have taken advantage of the convenience and economy offered by Transit Cards purchased from vending machines to pay their fares, or they buy passes. Bus customers have adapted to this system or have carried the appropriate change, knowing change machines weren't available to them. Removing the machines will now put bus and rail customers on an equal footing.
Transit Card vending machines accept $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20 bills, as well as coins, and for every $10 deposited, the customer receives a bonus of $1 in additional value on the card being purchased. Also growing in popularity are 7-Day and 30-Day Passes, for $20 and $75, respectively, which provide unlimited rides for the appropriate period, starting when the first trip is made.
The use of change machines at 'L' stations has dropped 33.8 percent over the past two years. A recent review found that only 1.4 percent of all CTA customers used the machines, which were located at every 'L' station. The CTA estimates it will save $1.4 million annually by removing the machines from its stations.
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