Introducing Ventra: CTA and Pace’s New Way to Pay

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Pace have unveiled Ventra™, a new fare payment system that will provide CTA and Pace customers with a new and more convenient way to pay for train and bus rides.

Ventra will be available in summer 2013, and both partners say, will allow customers to pay for rides with the same payment method they use for everyday purchases. Customers can choose from the following contactless payment methods: Ventra Cards, Ventra Tickets for single-ride and 1-day passes, and personal bank-issued debit and credit cards equipped with a contactless chip. Customers will simply “tap” their contactless payment card to quickly board trains and buses.

With Ventra, the companies say, riders will no longer need to carry multiple cards, and will not have to worry about having cash on hand or exact change. Additionally, the “tap” transaction will be faster than inserting cash or magnetic-stripe cards into fare equipment, which will speed boarding and improve service.

“Chicago will become the first major U.S. city to adopt an open fare system for transit,” said Forrest Claypool, CTA President. “The CTA is committed to investing in systems and technology that make taking public transportation easier and more convenient for our customers as CTA ridership continues to grow.”

The transit agencies retain full control of their fare structures while enabling customers to easily transfer between both services using the same form of payment.

“We are eager to provide this new convenience to our customers because it modernizes our fare system using the latest technology,” said T.J. Ross, Executive Director of Pace. “Remaining current with emerging payment methods ensures we’re staying in step with the demands of our customers.”

Customers are encouraged to visit ventrachicago.com for information and to sign up to receive updates as CTA and Pace implement the new fare payment system.

CTA has been working with Cubic Transportation Systems to design the new system since announcing the partnership in November 2011, when CTA awarded the $454 million contract. Pace joined the contract in July 2012. Cubic will provide all of the fare collection equipment, maintenance and support. Once the system is live, CTA and Pace will pay Cubic a monthly fee plus a fee per “tap,” or paid fare.

The new system is expected to result in a savings of more than $50 million to the CTA over the life of the 12-year contract, and resolves the need for CTA and Pace to upgrade and maintain existing fare collection equipment that is nearing the end of its useful life. Cubic will begin installing the new Ventra fare machines at rail stations this October, along with new touch-pads on buses and at turnstiles. The fare machines and touch-pads will not be operational until the system’s pilot testing in spring 2013.

Ventra will be available to all customers in summer 2013. At this time, both new and existing fare media will be accepted. In 2014, all CTA and Pace fare media, including the Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus, will be replaced with Ventra.

For more information, visit ventrachicago.com.

 

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