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More than 100,000 CTA riders to get Ventra cards in mail this week

More than 100,000 registered Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus users should be getting their new Ventra CTA payment cards in the mail this week, Chicago Transit Authority officials said Monday.

The new Ventra cards will include a phone number customers must call to activate their new cards. Balances on Chicago Card Plus cards will transfer automatically, but registered Chicago Card customers must either spend down their existing balances, or visit yet-to-be-named locations to transfer them to new Ventra cards.

To see the Ventra “user agreement” that existing card-holders will be receiving in the mail, go here:

Ventra cards won’t be available for purchase in stations until Sep. 9, but before that date, customers who receive them in the mail can preload their Ventra cards at every CTA station. The retail locations for preloading cards are still being finalized.

Ventra cards preloaded with no specific fare product will automatically charge users the “pay-as-you-go” fare for a CTA bus ride ($2) or a CTA elevated ride ($2.25), CTA officials said. Among pre-loaded fare products, the Ventra card will automatically prioritize shorter day passes (such as one-day passes), followed by longer-term passes (such as 30-day), followed by “pay-as-you-go”


The new plastic Ventra cards – which include a special chip that allows users to merely tap them on a farebox or turnstile – are slowing replacing the CTA’s paper transit fare cards with magnetic stripes. Credit or debit cards that contain the same special chips — about 10 percent of all existing cards — also may be used in lieu of Ventra cards.

College students already have started receiving their Ventra cards, and Chicago Public School students should be getting theirs before school starts Aug. 26.

Ventra cards also offer riders a “debit card” option, but users must specifically request that option. Once they do, they can be subject to a long list of debit fees.

See the schedule of Ventra debit fees here:

To see the CTA’s timetable for Ventra’s rollout, go here:

For more information on the Ventra fare payment system, go to the CTA’s Ventra website at: