Transit Card and Visitor Pass Vending Machines Soon Available at Union Station

February 15, 2006

Today the Chicago Transit Board approved an intergovernmental agreement with Metra for the installation of a CTA Transit Card vending machine and a Visitor Pass vending machine near the ticket counter at Union Station. Union Station, located at Canal and Jackson, is served by both Metra and Amtrak trains and many travelers connect to CTA bus and rail service when arriving downtown. Once installed, customers will be able to purchase magnetic strip transit cards and Visitor Passes at the machines, as well as add value to magnetic strip transit cards and Chicago Cards. The machines are expected to be installed in spring 2006.

On January 1, 2006, CTA increased fares for cash paying customers and customers who use a magnetic strip transit card on the rail system to $2, eliminated cash transfers and eliminated its $1 fare for rush hour bus shuttle service. CTA's standard fare for bus customers who use a magnetic strip transit card or Chicago Card remains at $1.75 along with 25 cent transfers. Customers who use a Chicago Card on CTA's rail system also continue to pay $1.75 to ride and are also allowed to transfer for 25 cents. Prices for Visitor Passes, which allow customers unlimited rides on CTA over a number of days, also remain unchanged in 2006, as does Metra's Link-Up pass, which allows customers unlimited rides on CTA trains and buses during rush hours.

?Today's action further improves convenience for customers who use Metra and Amtrak to travel throughout the region," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?Both agencies provide a valuable service to the region, and we will continue to work together to find ways to make taking public transit even easier for customers."

?Adding farecard vending machines to Union Station improves the convenience of using CTA service for Metra and Amtrak customers, and allows them the opportunity to avoid the January 1 cash fare increase," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?CTA ridership grew 3.7 percent in 2005, clearly indicating the increased demand for public transit service in the region and we continue our efforts to make taking CTA as easy as possible for customers."

Magnetic strip transit cards may be purchased from CTA farecard vending machines located at each of CTA's 144 rail stations, at more than 200 non-CTA outlets including Navy Pier, Jewel, Dominick's and Currency Exchanges, and at CTA's main office located at 567 W. Lake Street. Customers may add value to transit cards at any CTA vending machine.

Chicago Cards are available at CTA's main office at 567 West Lake Street from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., online at www.transitchicago.com, by calling 1-888-968-7282 (1-888 YOUR CTA) Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., or pick up an order form on CTA buses or at rails stations, or online and mail it to CTA. Currently non-CTA outlets that sell CTA fare media also offer Chicago Cards. For a complete list of locations visit CTA's web site, www.transitchicago.com, and click on ?Fares? or go to www.transitchicago.com/maps/salesoutlets.pdf.

Visitor Passes may be purchased from the Visitor Pass vending machine using cash, or debit or credit cards and are available in the following denominations: 1-Day Pass for $5, 2-Day Pass for $9, 3-Day Pass for $12 and 7-Day Pass for $20. Visitor Pass vending machines provide audio and visual instructions in English and Spanish, and have instructions in Braille and raised lettering for customers with disabilities. Visitor Passes allow unlimited rides to customers for the number of days stated on the pass. Visitor Passes also are available at Visitor Centers, airports, museums, Hot Tix, Navy Pier or on the Internet at www.transitchicago.com.

Under the agreement with Metra, the CTA Transit Card vending machines will remain at Metra's facility for one year and will be renewed on a yearly basis.

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