CTA's Ventra cards in service Monday

September 4, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The Ventra card will eventually take the place of the other fare cards on the CTA and Pace transit systems. For the next week, ambassadors from the CTA will be at busy train stations during the morning and evening rush to answer questions about Ventra.

"It really offers a convenience and flexibility of a single fare card to get on CTA and Pace," Labrini Lukidis, CTA, said.

Ventra machines are in place and ready to disperse cards. They will go live September 9, but there will be a gradual transition from the magnetic cards. Riders can use their current cards for the next few months- but are being encouraged to spend down their balances.

Many riders still seem to be unfamiliar with the Ventra cards and confused about whether they have to pay more in fares. The CTA says you will not.

"My main concern was what about the $28 I was paying? Does that mean I'll have to pay more money or what?" Earl Brown, CTA rider, said.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it, you know?" David Denton, CTA rider, said.

"Right now we a have a 20-year-old fare system that's reaching the end of its useful life," Lukidis said.

There was already a rollout with Ventra cards for the start of the school year. Some glitches were reported with fares being uploaded to the cards, but the CTA says that's been worked out.

For now, some riders who learn more about the Ventra card seem to like it.

"I think it sounds like a great idea, and I think it's going to make it a lot easier for people like me to take the CTA rather than buying a bus pass every month," Tamara Weishaar, CTA rider, said.

Pace and CTA will switch over to Ventra cards completely by December.

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