Monday Brings Big Deadline in Ventra Transition

Riders on Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains won't be able to use station vending machines to purchase disposable magnetic fare cards or reload their Chicago Cards as of Monday, the first big deadline in the transition to the new Ventra system.

Customers that already have a magnetic fare card can continue reloading it until Nov. 15. The cards will no longer be accepted sometime in December, but any remaining value can be transferred to a Ventra account through March.

Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus riders can use their cards through mid-November. 

Beginning Monday, riders who don't have enough funds on their Chicago Card should purchase a new Ventra card at a kiosk. Customers pay $5 to purchase the Ventra card and the amount is immediately refunded to the card for transit use upon registration online or by phone.

Chicago Plus Cards will continue to automatically reload. CTA officials said Ventra cards have been sent out to card holders who've verified their address information. Once it's been received, the account holder should activate it and the balance will be transitioned.

Many college and Chicago Public Schools students, who have U-PASS cards coded for the Ventra system, have been using Ventra since Aug. 5.

The Ventra card allows riders to use a single card for CTA and Pace transportation, according to a CTA release. Riders can also pair the Ventra account to a personal credit or debit card equipped with a contactless chip.

Officials said the Ventra has had more than 10 million taps and comprised 33 percent of all CTA and Pace rides as of Friday. There area nearly 900,000 Ventra accounts, they said.

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