Check your Chicago Card expiration date -- 60,000 to expire this year

The CTA warns those who bought their Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus four years ago that the card will expire this year. There are almost 60,000 cards that will expire beginning in April and through the end of the year.

Riders who registered their Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus users will be notified by email. But customers with unregistered Chicago Cards will need to check the expiration date of their card using one of the following methods:

Riders can check expiration dates:

  • Online.
  • At the passenger information units in most CTA rail stations.
  • By calling 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. till 8 p.m.
  • Or by visiting the CTA Sales Center, 567 W. Lake St., 8 a.m. till 4:30 p.m.
Get more information here.
And by the way, if you really have a Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus that is four years old and it still works, you must write to me. Because I want to know how you have managed to keep it in such pristine condition. It seems like I have to replace mine every year or so. I think the longest I've had a card without it getting damaged and rendered in operable was almost two year.


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  • Mine is going on four and is still almost at 100%, though sometimes it needs a little coercing when it's cold and the bus reader is quirky. I received it the fourth of September, 2006, right before moving here. I'm sad I won't get it quite to four, though, because I'll be moving to Madison in August. Maybe I'll have to come back and scan it for its birthday!

  • You truly provide a public service, Mr. Tattler. I was always under the assumption that mine was to expire in February, 2011. Why did I assume this? BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THE CC PLUS WEBSITE SAID THE LAST TIME I CHECKED. Yes, I know I'm shouting. I'm angry.

    Thanks to your post, I checked again and, lo and behold, it now expires at the end of April 2010. Wouldn't that have been swell if I'd dragged my bleary-eyed self to the bus on a lovely April morning and been denied and not had proper dollars/coins to pay a cash fare. The FAQs state that I would be sent an e-mail 45 days prior to expiration. Hummmm, 45 days was about three weeks ago and I'm compelled to find out from a blog. You stay efficient and helpful, CTA!! As the Irish would say, "feckin' eejits."

  • In reply to marthat3:

    I am here to serve, Martha. But seriously, I am surprised at this screwup. I wonder why your card suddenly expires 10 months sooner than originally promised?

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I'm as baffled as you are, Mr. Tattler. I was a little surprised the first time I checked because I got this card in February, 2006. I'm not a math genius, but I always wondered why it would expire in 2010 since they're supposed to last four years. Now I know why, because it actually does expire in 2010.

    It's been a good card. It's caused me very little trouble through three years of heavy use since I stopped driving. It replaced my first card, which I got in 2003 when they were initially offered. I almost never used CTA in those days and it cracked and stopped working after three years. In answer to your question, I'm not really sure why my current card has held up so well. I'll miss it. A replacement should be steaming its way to me. I renewed online. I'll be extremely irked but not completely surprised if it doesn't get here by the end of April.

  • In reply to marthat3:

    Apparently I'm not a typing genius either. The first 2010 should be 2011. I'm either too tired to type and need to go to sleep or I'm shocked and hurt that CTA has let my down yet again. Ha ha ha.

  • In reply to marthat3:

    Interesting Martha. A question: Is your old card now inactive while you await delivery of the new one? That's what I hate about getting a new card, especially since I'm a monthly pass user -- I have to pay for my rides with cash on a transit card, but the monthly clock keeps ticking instead of being suspended until I activate my new card when I get it.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I'm hoping that since I renewed rather than replaced my card that it should still be functioning. Emphasis on hope. I haven't had a chance to test that theory out yet since it's spring break and my normal commuting is interrupted. I will make sure to take my next trip from a train station in case I need to buy a transit card.

  • In reply to marthat3:

    Add mine to the list of cards that is still going strong. My expiration is this August, but I've never had a problem with it...and believe me when I say I've abused it through the years. It has never been kept in a wallet or protective sleeve, it is generally in my pocket with about 10 other cards (loose, mind you) and has even been through the washer once (luckily, it didn't make it to the drier).

    My last card (one of the first ChicagoCards, if I'm remembering correctly) didn't last too long. I kept it in a wallet and treated it well and it still stopped working within a year or two. So I take this as irrefutable proof that ChicagoCards like to be abused. :)

  • In reply to marthat3:

    I think this is my 9th CCP. I get it through the transit benefit at work and I know we were guinea pigs for the CTA, so the first few cracking weren't a terrible surprise. Also, the PO lost a replacement card on me once. I have held on to the current one the longest because I use a holder that's designed to keep my work ID from getting messed up due to static. It seems to have worked.

  • In reply to marthat3:

    Mine expires in September. It's still in pretty good shape. I keep it in a cardholder with a clear plastic front and a cord that's physically attached to my bag, so it's not as easy to lose as if it were kicking around loose. It usually reads OK, and when it doesn't, it may be more related to the temperature or the sensitivities of their equipment. For instance, there was a day when the machine could read it just fine to take my money and add it to the card balance, but then when I took it to the turnstile I had trouble getting it recognized. I was told the other day by some guy repairing a subway turnstile that I shouldn't keep it in the holder. I replied that it's more important to me to reduce the risk of losing it. He's not the one who would have to go through the hassle of replacement. If their system can read it most of the time, I don't see how that makes it my fault the rest of the time.

    Idea: could they punch a hole in the card (or let us do it) for attachment of a chain or string?

  • In reply to marthat3:

    I'm on my second -- when my first was due to expire, I received the email from the CTA. It was about four years old, and I didn't do anything special. Kept it in my jacket pocket if I was wearing one or my shirt or front pants/jeans pocket otherwise.

    This one isn't that old, but thanks to Martha's experience, I'll check its expiration when I get to work tomorrow. Thanks for taking the bullet for us, Martha. Note that the lines are generally really long at the CTA's Lake St. sales center.

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