Ventra System

Chicago Apartments, Ventra System

Ventra cards became available for everyone in Chicago to use starting September 9th on the CTA. Old methods of paying are going to be phased out through the Fall.
When will your old method be phased out?
• If you use the Chicago Card Plus you won’t be able to reload your card beginning in October and you can no longer use the card beginning in November.
• If you use a registered Chicago Card or unregistered they will no longer be issued starting in September, you won’t be able to reload your card beginning in October and you can no longer use your card beginning in November.
• If you buy stored value cards or 10-ride cards you will not be able to buy these cards starting in October, these cards will not be able to be used beginning in December.
So now that you know when you have to switch, let’s talk about how. The point of the Ventra system is to have a single fare card for regional transit throughout Chicago. You can pay for CTA and Pace bus and trains through three methods:
Chicago Apartments, Ventra System
• Ventra Card: prepaid debit card which can be used for transit as well as everyday purchases
• Ventra Tickets: available for purchase per ride or for a day
• Your personal debit or credit card
30-day and 7-day passes will still be available once the switch to Ventra is complete and buses will still take cash. At some point mobile phones will also be able to be used to pay for fares.
The Ventra system is meant to speed the boarding process (it’s tap and go) as well as provide you an easier way to pay for all forms of public transit.
Chicago Apartments, Ventra System
So how do you get a Ventra card? You can go to this website: to either get a ventra card or register an existing credit or debit card that you have.
Once you move to the Ventra system fares do not increase as a lot of people believe. Prices remain the same it’s just a new way to pay. Also, you don’t HAVE to have a debit or credit account to use Ventra. The plus is that you can link those accounts to your Ventra card but you can still use cash to add value to cards if you choose not to link an account.
Chicago Apartments, Ventra System
As a student I was provided with a Ventra card at the end of August and I’ve found that it works great. The tap and go is a great feature and I haven’t had any issues. I have heard of other people using the Ventra system tapping their cards and getting denied even when they’re loaded, creating an inconvenient and sometimes embarrassing situation. The CTA has said that there are still bugs and this will be expected but that drivers and CTA personnel are equipped to deal with issues as they come up. Hopefully these bugs will be worked out before the mandatory switch takes place!
Overall the Ventra system seems like a step forward for Chicago as it will be the first major U.S. city to adopt an open payment system.
Let us know if you’ve started using Ventra yet and what you think!

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