The CTA board today formally cleared the way for a new fare payment system to start sometime this summer.
The Ventra system uses "tap and go" technology found on many credit and debit cards. Riders can use their own properly equipped cards, or buy the CTA's Ventra card for $5. Riders then can register the card by phone or Internet and have the $5 fee added to the stored value.
Here are some basic facts:
- Fares will remain the same, though rail riders who buy single-use tickets will pay a 75-cent premium over the base $2.25 fare - 50 cents to cover the cost to produce the embedded wireless chip, plus 25 cents for a transfer.
- For riders with a Chicago Card Plus, the value in that card will be automatically transferred.
- Riders with a Chicago Card will have to use the stored value in their card, as it cannot be transferred.
- By January 2014 will be able to purchase Ventra reloadable cards at more than 2,000 locations within 1/3 mile of more than 11,000 CTA bus stops and at all rail stations. Currently, CTA customers can buy fare cards at more than 600 locations.
- The CTA may give away a number of Ventra cards in a promotional effort. But there are no details yet on how.
- By 2014, the CTA no longer will accept Chicago Cards or the magnetic strip transit cards.
- The Ventra cards would be accepted on both the CTA and Pace routes.
- The word Ventra is derived from the Latin word "ventus," which means wind. Get it? Windy City?
Get lots more information at the Ventra website.