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CTA starts Ventra audio campaign

Listen up, riders. The CTA wants you to know that soon it will be switching to Ventra, its new fare payment system that the agency plans to roll out this summer.

The CTA this week began audio announcements on all its buses about Ventra. There are two versions of the announcements, which run every 25 to 30 minutes.

"They're basically educational recordings letting people know to visit ventrachicago.com," CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis said. "It's just kind of an awareness campaign right now."

The CTA has not yet announced a start date for Ventra except to say that it is coming this summer. The agency last week rolled out a Twitter feed for the program, @VentraChicago.

The Ventra card will replace the Chicago Card and disposable unlimited passes with magnetic stripes.

The CTA will also offer an optional pre-paid Ventra MasterCard, where riders can pay for their transit and other purchases. The CTA said last month they have rolled back some of the controversial fees associated with the prepaid debit option.

Riders will be able to use their current cards through the end of the year.

The agency rarely runs audio campaigns on its buses. It did so in 2009 when Chicago was in the running to get the 2016 summer Olympics.

The pro-Olympics messages aired every 20 minutes and irked some riders.

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