CTA nears complete transition to Ventra

Bailey Williams, Assistant City Editor

The transition to Ventra will be nearly complete Thursday, largely ending old payment methods previously used for the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace Suburban Bus Service.

Starting on May 1, customers will not be able to purchase cards with magnetic stripes or reload their Chicago Cards and Chicago Card Plus. Customers will still be able to reload old magnetic stripe cards until June 1.

Both the CTA and Pace buses are offering ways to transfer funds that customers may have remaining on outdated payment methods after May 1. CTA and Pace customer service departments will hold “balance transfer events” in Chicago on May 8 at Jefferson Park Branch Library, 5363 W. Lawrence Ave., and May 10 at Marie Sklodowska Curie Metropolitan High School, 4959 S. Archer Ave. There will be more events in June. Additional Ventra transfer events will be held at CTA headquarters every Tuesday.

Additionally, customers who have remaining balances will have the opportunity to transfer those funds to their Ventra cards through a “mail-in option” later this spring, although the complete details have not yet been disclosed.

About 86 percent of CTA rides and 61 percent of Pace rides are already paid for using Ventra, according to a CTA and Pace news release.

Ventra cards can be purchased at vending machines at CTA rail stations or online at ventrachicago.com, CTA and Pace officials said in a news release.

Ventra cards purchased in machines are activated upon purchase, but cards received in the mail must be activated before use.

On June 1, riders will be prevented from using their Chicago Cards and reloading their magnetic stripe fare cards. Despite this deadline, the CTA’s website warns that some Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus cards may not be accepted prior to June 1.

By July 1, magnetic stripe cards will no longer be accepted as payment, according to the CTA website.

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