The CTA and Pace on March 28 announced 20 Ventra customer service/balance transfer events that will help customers switch to the new Ventra fare payment system ahead of the full transition to Ventra on July 1.
The transition will happen in three phases:
- May 1 — Customers can no longer buy magnetic stripe cards or autoload/reload Chicago Card/Chicago Card Plus
- June 1 — Customers can no longer reload magnetic stripe cards or use Chicago Card/Chicago Card Plus
- July 1 — Customers can no longer use magnetic stripe cards. Pace customers with cash will no longer be issued a Transfer Card. All customers will be transitioned to Ventra.
To help the remaining 1 in 5 customers who still need to switch to Ventra, personal assistance will be provided for those who want to transfer balances from old farecards onto free, registered Ventra Cards.
Customers attending balance transfer events may bring a maximum of five eligible fare media cards with a combined minimum of $5 in transit value. Fare media eligible to be transferred onto a registered Ventra Card includes CTA and Pace stored value magnetic stripe full-fare and reduced-fare cards and Chicago Cards. Unlimited-ride 1-day, 3-day and 30-day period passes, reduced-fare passes and passes sold in bulk or any expired fare media cannot be transferred to Ventra Cards and must be spent down prior to the appropriate transition deadlines.
Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) reduced-fare permit holders will need to bring in their new Ventra RTA reduced-fare permit to any of the above events to transfer balances. RTA representatives will be on hand at all community balance transfer events to assist reduced fare customers.
Chicago Card Plus customers who have not yet transitioned to Ventra can also attend balance transfer events for assistance, but are encouraged to take advantage of a new convenient online self-service transfer function available at ventrachicago.com. Customers who purchase a Ventra Card from a vending machine or retailer will be able to transfer the balance from their old Chicago Card Plus to their Ventra Card after registering their new Ventra card online.
Balance transfers for customers who receive pre-tax transit benefits through their employer will be handled separately, through their employers. Employers are currently providing information to those customers on how to transition to Ventra.
Balance transfer events are meant to offer assistance as well as conveniently transfer existing balances, but customers can also spend down any remaining balances they have left on old farecards and simply obtain a Ventra Card from a vending machine or retailer. The $5 one-time purchase fee is automatically refunded as transit value on their card upon registration.
Details regarding an option to mail in old farecards to have unused balances transferred to Ventra will be announced later this spring.