The $5 Ventra Card purchase fee will be waived through December when ordered online or by phone. Card purchase fees at Ventra vending machines and participating Ventra retail locations will be converted to transit value upon registration. Registration also provides balance protection in the event of a lost or stolen card—a significant benefit that was previously not possible for CTA and Pace customers using magnetic stripe cards.
Customers are encouraged to begin spending down the value of their Chicago Cards and magnetic stripe cards and to use multiday passes to prepare for the transition to Ventra. Both the old and new systems will overlap for a period in order to ease customers onto the new fare payment system. During the transition, customers will begin to notice a more limited ability to reload and purchase new magnetic stripe farecards in the coming weeks and months. CTA and Pace will issue reminders as these important dates approach.
To further assist customers with the transition to Ventra, the CTA and Pace will hold 27 balance transfer events across Chicago and the suburbs. Customers can transfer stored transit value from eligible magnetic-stripe cards and Chicago Cards to a new registered Ventra Card, which will be provided at no cost. Customers may bring a maximum of five eligible fare media cards at a time with a combined minimum of $5 in transit value.
Those with a contactless credit or debit card can also register online or by phone for a Ventra Transit Account and use the bank cards already in their wallets to access the CTA and Pace.
CTA and Pace are the first major transit agencies in North America to offer a fare payment system which accepts all contactless forms of payment. The system was designed and developed by Cubic Transportation Systems.