To all you riders clinging cautiously to your Chicago Cards and magnetic stripe transit cards - get ready for Ventra.
We should know by the end of March how the new transition should go, according to a Tribune column today.
The transition to Ventra-only fare payments will probably resume where it left off:
First, riders will no longer be able to reload value onto the old fare cards, then the sale of magnetic stripe cards will be halted, and lastly, none of the old-style cards will be accepted on buses or trains, the CTA said. A deadline for transferring remaining value from the old cards to Ventra cards will also be set.
"Some final details are being worked out on setting up informational events and the mail-in program so customers can transfer balances from their old cards to Ventra, but we're pretty sure an announcement will be made by month's end," CTA spokesman Brian Steele said Friday.
While the Ventra card now is being used to pay for 81 percent of all rides, Ventra-maker Cubic is not meeting its contractual goal of processing Ventra taps on buses in less than half a second. The average bus tap time last week was 0.77 seconds. The rail tap times are averaging just under a half second.
Bottom line: I recommend you start getting on board now with Ventra if you've been holding out. If you need help, you can get it through their customer service center before the volume of calls increases when the transition really begins.
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