Chicago's public transportation is going mobile.
Officials announced Wednesday that commuters will be able to access CTA, Metra, and Pace from their smartphone via a Ventra mobile app expected to roll out next year.
The app, which has a development budget of $2.5 million, will allow users to pay for rides on all three transit systems and will provide riders with the ability to add transit value and load passes on their Ventra card, check account balances, and receive real-time alerts.
“Essentially, this app will put a Ventra vending machine in your pocket, giving you the ability to manage your account from wherever it’s most convenient for you, whether you ride CTA, Metra or Pace, or all of them,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.
The free app will be available for Apple and Android users in 2015, officials said.
It is expected to be rolled out in phases. The first phase will allow users to add transit value and passes, check account balances, manage funding sources, view transaction history, sign up for alerts and use Metra mobile ticketing.
Later phases will provide addition account management features, transit tracking, and an integrated regional trip planner.
By early 2016, officials expect the app will become a virtual Ventra card, allowing users to pay for rides by touching their phone to a Ventra reader.