Ventra deadline looms

Riders have only a few days left to transfer the balances on their old CTA fare cards to their Ventra cards. (Chris Sweda)

Riders have only a few days left to transfer the balances on their old CTA fare cards to their Ventra cards.

And they have to do it via snail mail.

Through Monday, riders can mail in their old fare cards to the CTA, accompanied by a mail-in transfer form, which can be found at CTA stations, on buses and online at transitchicago.com/mailintransfer. To green light the transfers, riders will have to make sure their Ventra card is registered with Ventra.

The CTA is accepting stored-value transit cards, Chicago Cards, O’Hare Smartcards, reduced fare permits and 30-day unlimited passes, which must be in their original, unopened packaging. Passes will be transferred to Ventra as transit value in the amount the rider paid for the pass.

Riders can submit a maximum of eight old fare cards, which must total at least $5 in combined value.

Cards must have an expiration of Dec. 15, 2013 or later.

Balances are transferred within 30 days after receipt of the mail-in request. The balance transferred cannot cause the Ventra card’s total value to exceed $300.

Since the mail-in program began June 1, more than 6,000 fare cards have been submitted with a combined value of $45,000 transferred to Ventra cards, the CTA said.

In July, the CTA finished its transition to the Ventra fare payment system. The agency now only accepts Ventra cards or tickets, some personal bank cards, certain phones and cash (only on buses).