Ventra (TM) Set to Launch in August; Available for All in September

June 25, 2013
Modern, Convenient Fare Payment System Coming Soon to CTA, Pace Customers
Select CTA and Pace customers will begin using the new Ventra fare payment system, which allows customers to use a single fare card for transit throughout the Chicago region, in August 2013, with a full public rollout following a few weeks later in September, officials announced today.
Ventra—which replaces CTA and Pace’s existing, nearly 20-year-old fare-payment system—offers transit customers the convenience and flexibility of a modern fare payment system, including faster boarding, account management and value protection. With Ventra, customers can use a Ventra Card, Ventra Ticket or their own contactless bankcard to pay for CTA and Pace rides by loading transit value and passes.    
A simple “tap” of a contactless card will allow customers to quickly board CTA buses and trains as well as Pace buses. Ventra has no fees for daily transit use and CTA and Pace fares will remain the same. Cash will still be accepted on buses.
“We’ve spent nearly two years building and testing this innovative system and are eager for customers to begin integrating Ventra into their daily lives,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.  “In advance of this transition, the CTA and Pace are continuing to educate the Chicago region on this new way to pay for public transit.”
“Ventra modernizes our fare collection system by incorporating the latest industry technology to provide convenience and ease of use for our customers,” said Pace Executive Director T.J. Ross. “The expanded network of places to get Ventra products and load value definitely benefits Pace riders.”
Upon launch, Ventra will be the nation’s largest transit open fare payment system, and will eventually include a network with more than three times the current number in the region, expected at around 2,000.
As installation and testing of Ventra fare readers and vending machines continues, the CTA and Pace today provided an overview of the transition to Ventra and the plans to educate and assist customers in moving to the new payment system.
July 2013
  • Chicago Card Plus and registered Chicago Card customers will receive notifications via email/mail of the transition to Ventra, and a few weeks later will receive their new Ventra Cards in the mail with instructions on how to activate.
  • Pace will hold regional outreach events at which customers can receive information about the advantages Ventra offers and ask questions of Pace staff. 
  • As part of Ventra outreach efforts, mobile Ventra Buses will visit multiple Chicago and suburban events and festivals to familiarize customers with Ventra and demonstrate how to use the new fare payment system.
August 2013
  • Ventra launches for the first targeted group of users including Chicago Card Plus and registered Chicago Card users and students at schools participating in the U-Pass program.
  • Chicago Public Schools and Chicagoland students will begin the transition to Ventra for the Fall 2013 semester.
September 2013
  • All CTA customers and Pace fixed route bus customers are able to use Ventra.
  • Customers can obtain Ventra Cards, begin purchasing products and/or purchasing stored value at all CTA rail stations where vending machines are installed, online, by phone, at hundreds of neighborhood retailers, and the Ventra customer service center.
  • Both Ventra and the existing fare systems will run in parallel, and CTA and Pace will accept both old and new fare media. Customers can begin transferring stored value balances from old media types to Ventra Cards.
October/November 2013
  • Old fare media, including CTA’s Chicago Cards, Chicago Card Plus and all CTA magnetic stripe fare cards, as well as Pace’s multi-ride passes, will be gradually phased out. CTA and Pace will provide detailed information later this summer on transition of each fare media product to the Ventra system.
December 2013
  • CTA and Pace customers will be fully transitioned to Ventra. Old legacy fare payment system will cease to operate.
Through Spring 2014
  • CTA and Pace customers will have an additional three months to transfer balances on old fare cards to Ventra Cards.
The CTA and Pace will continue to provide updates throughout the summer and fall to keep all customers informed and notify them of important changes.
Learn more about Ventra at ventrachicago.com. Customers can also interact with Ventra via Twitter (@VentraChicago) and on Ventra Chicago’s Facebook page. Information is also available on CTA and Pace web sites at www.transitchicago.com and www.pacebus.com.
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