The RTA began mailing new Reduced Fare, Ride Free and ADA Paratransit permits for use with the Ventra system on CTA and Pace in September. All customers should receive their new permits by the second week of January.
If you have received your permit please
activate it by calling 1-877-450-5328.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will I receive my new Reduced Fare, Ride Free or ADA Paratransit permit?
RTA began mailing new permits in September and all permits should be received by the second week of January.
- All Senior Reduced Fare, Disabled Reduced Fare and ADA Paratransit permits have been mailed and should have been received. Contact the RTA Customer Service Center at 312-913-3110 if you have not received your permit.
- All Ride Free customers should receive their new permits no later than the second week of January.
How do I activate my new permit?
You need to activate your new permit by calling 1-877-450-5328 before using it on CTA and Pace. You will need to provide the card number and card expiration date located on the back of the card, as well as your birthday, when activating your permit. If you need assistance with activating your permit call the activation number and press ‘0’.
How do I transfer my balance from my current permit to my new permit?
You should continue to use your current permit until your balance is zero. Ventra is hosting a series of Balance Transfer Events throughout the region where customers can transfer balances from their magnetic stripe Reduced Fare and ADA Paratransit to their new Ventra permits. For more information and a list of Balance Transfer Events click here.
The remaining transfer balance events are as follows:
CTA Headquarters Balance Transfer Events at 567 W. Lake Street
Monday, December 9
5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Tuesday, December 10
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Thursday, December 12
5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday, December 13
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
If you are unable to attend a Balance Transfer Event you will be able to mail in your magnetic stripe permits to have the balance transferred beginning in December 2013.
What is Ventra™?
Ventra™ is the CTA’s and Pace’s new fare payment system that will make it faster and easier to access transit throughout the region. Ventra was developed by the CTA and Pace to unify their payment systems.
Do I need to apply for a new permit or have a new photo taken?
No. If you are currently enrolled in the RTA’s Reduced Fare, Ride Free or ADA Paratransit program you do not need to re-apply or have a new picture taken to receive a new permit.
How will I use Ventra on CTA and Pace trains and buses?
After you activate your new permit you will be able to add CTA and Pace transit passes, like a 30-day reduced fare pass, and transit value (incremental dollar amounts) to your Transit Account. Once you have added a transit pass or transit value, you will simply “tap” your new permit to board CTA and Pace trains and buses.
What is a Transit Account?
A Transit Account is a secure individual account that can be registered to your permit. You can add transit passes, such as the 30-day reduced fare pass, and transit value to your Transit Account to pay for rides on the CTA and Pace.
Where will I be able to purchase transit passes and add transit value to my Transit Account?
You will be able purchase transit passes and add value in a variety of places, including online at www.ventrachicago.com, over the phone at 1-877-NOW-VENTRA (1-877-669-8368), at participating Ventra Retail Locations and Ventra vending machines at CTA rail stations.
How can I manage my Transit Account?
You can manage your Transit Account, view transit balances and add transit passes and value online with a computer, tablet or smartphone. You can also manage your Transit Account over the phone, at participating Ventra Retail Locations and Ventra vending machines at CTA rail stations. When you activate your new permit you can obtain a username, password and account access code. You can have your username, password and account access code mailed to you and also provided to you over the phone. If you have already activated your permit and did not get your username, password and account access code during the activation process you will need to call 1-877-NOW-VENTRA (1-877-669-8368).
How will I pay my fares for Metra?
You will use your new permit for program verification on Metra just as you do today. When purchasing a reduced fare monthly, 10-ride or one-way ticket at a Metra station you must present your Reduced Fare Permit to the Metra ticket agent. When purchasing a reduced fare ticket on-board a Metra train you must present your Reduced Fare Permit to the Metra conductor. There is a $3.00 surcharge if you purchase a one-way ticket on-board the train when a ticket agent is on duty at the station where you boarded. Ride Free customers will simply present their Ride Free Permit to the Metra conductor on-board a Metra train.
Will I be able to pay my fare on Pace ADA Paratransit Service using my new permit?
No. If you are eligible to ride ADA Paratransit service you will continue to pay your fare using cash or Pace ADA One Ride tickets. You will be able to use your new permits to pay for your rides on ADA Paratransit vehicles at a later date.
Will I still be able to use my current Reduced Fare, Ride Free and ADA Paratransit permit?
Yes. You should continue to use your current permit until your balance is zero. You can also use your new Ventra permit once you receive it. Your current permit will continue to work until later this winter when you will be required to use your new permit on CTA, Pace and Metra. Cash will continue to be accepted on buses and Metra trains.
Is the new Ventra system going to increase fares or cost me money?
No. You will receive your new Reduced Fare, Ride Free and ADA Paratransit permit at no cost. CTA, Pace and Metra will continue to have full control over their fare policies, and there are no fare increases associated with the move to Ventra. If you go 18 consecutive months without using your Transit Account you will be subject to a $5.00 dormancy fee deducted from your stored transit value each month. Just one CTA or Pace ride will reset the dormancy timeframe. You will not be charged the dormancy fee if there is no transit value in your account.
How can I get more information?
You can receive more information about the transition to Ventra™ at www.ventrachicago.com or www.rtachicago.org or by calling RTA’s Customer Service Center at 312-913-3110.