CTA, Pace to launch Ventra payment system

July 29, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Westwood College students will be among the first to try the transit system's new tap and go fare card called Ventra.

"It's going to save time when your boarding the bus, especially when it's cold outside and you've got people digging for change and they're looking for their fare card and there's a line," said student Jerome Cushmeer.

"We did place an early order for all of our full time active students so those cards will actually be coming in the mail this week, so that our students can have them in hand two days before our august term even starts," said Natasha Russell.

The Ventra card use begins on August 5 when U-Pass students get them from their schools. August 19 Chicago card and Chicago card plus customers will start receiving cards in the mail. Chicago Public School students receive them during school orientation before the first day of classes August 26. On September 9 all CTA and Pace customers will be able to use the new system.

"Right now what you're seeing is a lot of our testing," said CTA's Tammy Chase. "You have dozens of folks out in the field testing every kind of transaction at our machines, buses our turnstiles to make sure the new cards are ready."

Gloria Chavez is a test manager. She attempted to buy a Ventra card at a machine next the old machines.

"When I touched the card I got a read error and I had to tap it again and then it worked," she said.

For those who buy the card, there is a one-time $5 fee, but that can be refunded and put toward use if you register.

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