By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz
12:55 PM CST, February 27, 2013
A single rail ride could cost $3 if the rider pays with cash when the CTA unveils its new open fare payment system Ventra this summer.
The CTA is proposing a 50-cent "limited use media fee" for disposable single ride tickets. The $3 would cover $2.25 rail fare, a 25-cent transfer and the 50-cent fee, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said.
Riders would pay the 25-cent transfer fee whether they make a connection or not.
Starting this summer, riders will be able to use their debit/credit cards, a Ventra card, disposable unlimited passes or single-ride passes to pay for their rail trips. Chicago Cards will still be accepted this year but not next year. Cash will still be accepted on buses.
"Most people will never pay a fee," Chase said.
Riders who use a reloadable Ventra card would have to pay $5, which would be transferred back to the rider as a credit to pay for CTA rides, a system similar to the Chicago Card operation.
Riders who don't use their reloadable Ventra cards after 18 months would see $5 deducted each month from the cash stored on their card.
Riders who take the train from O'Hare would not have to pay the additional 50-cent fee. O'Hare riders who don't use unlimited passes saw the cost of travel from O'Hare rise from $2.25 to $5 last month.
Also last month, the CTA hiked the prices of its unlimited passes. The 30-day pass went from $86 to $100.
CTA board chairman Terry Peterson in November told the Tribune that riders would not see fare hikes this year or next.
"Our fares are not changing," Chase said. "Bus and rail fares are absolutely not changing."
About 4 percent of CTA's daily riders purchase the single-ride tickets, Chase said.
The CTA will hold a public hearing about Ventra at 6 p.m., March 11, at CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake St.
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