CTA Marks Milestone Monday in Transition to Ventra

Rail stations will no longer sell magnetic stripe cards, and Chicago Card holders will no longer be able to reload them at rail stations, among multiple other things.

In the next major step in the transition to the new Ventra fare payment system, the Chicago Transit Authority and Pace reminds customers of important changes that will take effect on Monday, Oct. 7:

  • Rail station vending machines will no longer sell CTA magnetic stripe stored value cards or magnetic stripe period passes.
  • Customers will be able to continue to reload their magnetic stripe fare cards with stored value until Monday, Nov. 15.
  • Customers may be able to purchase magnetic stripe period passes at retail locations that still have them in stock.
  • Chicago Card customers will no longer be able to reload their cards at CTA rail station vending machines. Registered Chicago Card customers are continuing to transition to Ventra. New Ventra Cards are on their way to these customers via mail. Registered Chicago Card customers are encouraged to reload sufficient value on their cards prior to October 7 until their new Ventra Cards arrive and are activated.
  • Chicago Card Plus customers are continuing to transition to Ventra. New Ventra Cards are on their way to these customers via mail. Chicago Card Plus customers can continue to auto-load their Chicago Card Plus accounts until their new Ventra Cards arrive and are activated.
  • Pace will begin offering a new 30-day premium pass for customers using Ventra.
  • Magnetic stripe stored value cards and period passes will no longer be accepted Sunday, Dec. 15.


Ventra is now available to the public. The CTA and Pace encourage customers to snag Ventra Cards, which are available at Ventra vending machines at all CTA rail stations. 

They are also available online at ventrachicago.com and at more than 700 retail locations across the Chicago region. Customers will be able to load their Ventra Cards or contactless credit or debit cards with the same CTA period passes or transit value to pay for rides.

CTA and Pace will complete the transition to Ventra on Dec. 15.

CTA and Pace are waiving the Ventra Card’s $5.00 fee for customers who order their Ventra Card online at ventrachicago.com or by visiting the Ventra Customer Service Center, 165 N. Jefferson, prior to Dec. 15. If a Ventra Card is purchased from a vending machine, the $5.00 one-time purchase fee is easily refunded to the card as stored transit value by registering it.

Ventra made its full public rollout Sept. 9, bringing the convenience and flexibility of a single fare card to all transit customers throughout the region.

There are no extra costs to use Ventra for transit, and fares are the same as under the old fare system. 

The Ventra system has had more than 10 million taps and now comprises 33 percent of all CTA and Pace rides. There are currently nearly 900,000 Ventra accounts.

The CTA will have extra personnel at several CTA rail stations the week of Oct. 7 to answer questions and help customers use Ventra. Pace will also have staff at key transfer locations in Chicago and the suburbs during the weeks of Oct. 7 and Oct. 14 to provide assistance and distribute information about proposed fare policy changes. 

Customers are encouraged to spend down balances on their existing Chicago Cards and magnetic stripe fare cards. Stored value card balances can also be transferred to Ventra Cards and Reduced Fare Ventra Cards at various neighborhood balance transfer events from now through December. Neither period passes nor expired magnetic stripe cards can be transferred to Ventra Cards.

Editor's Note: This article was provided via press release from the CTA.


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