May 25, 1999

Midnight on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, will bring the end of CTA's acceptance of tokens for payment of fares on CTA buses and trains, and also in Transit Card vending machines. Memorial Day service itself will be on a Sunday/holiday schedule throughout the CTA system.

Since CTA's conversion to an automated fare system in 1997, Transit Cards have gained overwhelming acceptance as the preferred method of payment by customers who quickly recognized their flexibility and economy of use.

The final phase of CTA's switch to farecards was approved by the CTA Board on October 9, 1998, when a new, simpler fare structure was announced. At that time, and again on October 30, 1998, CTA customers were advised that Transit Card packs would be sold in place of tokens beginning January 1, 1999, and that tokens would be accepted for payment only until May 31, 1999.

In kicking off the sale of Transit Card packs on January 1, 1999, CTA again reminded customers of the impending end of token use. On April 16, CTA issued yet another another notice for customers to use up their tokens by May 31, and signs urging everyone to ?Put Your Tokens to Work Before They Retire? were posted on all CTA buses and trains.

"The CTA's automated fare collection system provides many options and savings," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. "Customers can now get $11 in value for every $10 they pay for Transit Cards, or they can purchase one, seven or 30-day pass cards that are good for unlimited riding. Clearly, Transit Cards have far surpassed tokens in usefulness and versatility."

Token use accounted for only 1.3 percent of fare payment in April, 1999, compared to 41.2 percent two years earlier, before automated fare collection was phased in on CTA's 'L' system. Transit Cards and passes are now used for 61 percent of fare payment, while cash fares are paid by 37.7 percent of CTA riders. Customers have clearly gotten the message that tokens are no longer the way to go. Over 26 million CTA tokens have been taken out of circulation.

Contact: Media Relations312-222-6106
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