The Chicago Transit Authority is waiving the $5 fee to obtain a Ventra transit through the end of the year, according to the Chicago Tribune.
With Ventra, customers are presented with the flexibility of a modern fare payment system, including faster boarding, account management and value protection. A simple “tap” of a contactless card enables customers to board CTA buses and trains as well as Pace buses.
CTA and Pace commuters can apply for the free Ventra card either online at ventrachicago.com, by calling 877-669-8368 or by visiting the Ventra customer service center at 165 N. Jefferson St., Chicago. Ventra is replacing the current fare cards used on CTA and Pace. The transition is being phased in and will be completed in early 2014.
Starting Sept. 9, commuters will also be able to obtain a Ventra card from vending machines at CTA rail stations and select retail locations, but officials said a (refundable) $5 card purchase fee will be charged. Customers who pay $5 fee will be refunded via stored transit value on their card by registering the card online or by phone.
Officials also said Chicago Card Plus and Chicago Card customers participating in the transit benefits program, which offers tax advantages to purchase transit fares, will begin to transition to Ventra starting in mid-September through the fall.
Upon launch, Ventra will be one of the nation’s largest transit open fare payment systems, and will eventually include a networking with more than three times the current number in the region, expected at around 2,000.