Here’s a nifty solution for those of you (like me) still waiting for the Ventra Card that will replace your Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus in the mail: Just buy one at your CTA station.
Ventra confirmed via Twitter today that there’s nothing keeping you from getting a Ventra Card to either use in the meantime while you wait or to pocket so you’ll have a backup later:
@samkirkla Yes. You can get a #Ventra Card today at Ventra Vending Machines at CTA rail stations or participating retail locations.— Ventra Chicago (@VentraChicago) October 7, 2013
@samkirkla Correct. You also have the option to register an additional Card to your existing Ventra Transit Account.— Ventra Chicago (@VentraChicago) October 7, 2013
This option’s especially relevant if you’re a Chicago Card (not Plus) user because as of today you can’t reload your card. You’re in a tough spot if you didn’t heed CTA warnings and allowed the balance on your Chicago Card to fall to zero, because you also can’t buy disposable magnetic-stripe cards anymore.
That seemed to mean that until your Ventra Card arrives — and if you don’t have a fancy RFID-enabled credit/debit card — you’re stuck either buying a Ventra single-ride ticket for the new inflated $3 price — or digging through your junk drawer for an old disposable CTA pass, which can still be reloaded for the single-ride price of $2.25 (until Nov. 15 [PDF]).
But turns out there’s a third option: Go ahead and buy a Ventra Card and register it to get your $5 back. And then you’ll have a handy backup card once your official new one arrives via snail mail.