Wringing extra life from a dying Chicago Card/Plus


My Chicago Card Plus was on death’s door. I could see a hairline crack in it, and it stalled in registering at the reader. But I was going out of town for a few days and knew I wouldn’t be using the card and could have a new sent, so I wanted to wring another day or two of life out of the card.

That’s when I remembered this tip from Windy City Mike via the LiveJournal El Community:

“One of the CTA folks at the Lake station showed me a nice trick last night. You hold the upper righthand corner (if you’re looking at it from the back) up to the very top of the circle (where it lights up). That way you’re putting the transmitter within the card nearly directly adjacent to the receiver within the turnstile.”

And yes, it does work — for awhile at least. Eventually it will totally give up the ghost. I will say that the card had actually lasted me for more than two years — the longest ever. So that was a plus.

And the morning I was leaving town I ordered a new Chicago Card Plus at the CTA Web site. They say it will take 5-7 business days to arrive by mail. But mine got to me in four business days, amazingly enough.

One other thing I found on these card — keep them away from other similar cards, such as an ID to gain you entrance to lock doors at work. I used to keep them together, but my Chicago Card Plus failed very quickly. I’ve kept them separate since and have been happy I did.

Do you folks have any other tips, tricks or quips about the cards? And how about that blast from the past? Thanks to the Tribune for the photo of former CTA President Frank Kruesi at a press conference.

Filed under: CTA in the news

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