CTA, Pace introduce new fare payment system
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Pace last week unveiled Ventra, a fare payment system that will provide CTA and Pace customers with a new way to pay for train and bus rides.
Ventra will be available in summer 2013, and 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 one-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, 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.
“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.”
CTA and Pace will also continue offering special fares and various priced fare products, like 30-day and 7-day passes, and will still accept cash on buses. Customers will also eventually be able to use compatible mobile phones to pay for train and bus rides.
The transit agencies retain full control of their fare structures while enabling customers to transfer between both services using the same form of payment.
Ventra Cards and fare products will be sold at vending machines in rail stations, and will be made available at up to 2,500 retail locations throughout Chicago and the suburbs. Many of the locations will be within blocks of CTA rail stations and CTA and Pace bus stops.
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.
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.