Full transition to Ventra begins Tuesday

A commuter touches her Ventra card to a mobile validator at the State/Lake CTA station in downtown Chicago (Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune) (June 30, 2014)

CTA riders who get their Ventra cards from retailers, online or by phone will now have to pay a $5 fee that can be refunded as transit credit if riders register the card.

The $5 fee at retail stores, online or by phone was waived through yesterday as the CTA transitioned to Ventra, its new fare payment system. Riders who obtained their Ventra card at rail stations have always paid the initial $5 fee.

Riders have 90 days to register their card to receive a $5 credit on their card. Riders can register the card at ventrachicago.com to manage their account online.

Meanwhile, there are new hours for the Ventra Customer Service Center, at 165 N. Jefferson St.

As of Monday, the center will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. The center used to be open untii 7 p.m.

The CTA completed its transition to Ventra last week when it stopped accepting magnetic stripe fare cards. The agency slowed the Ventra transition, originally scheduled to be completed last year, so Ventra vendor Cubic Transportation Systems could fix glitches the CTA said have now been fixed.

As of the end of June, Ventra was used to pay for about 98 percent of CTA rides. The CTA also accepts some personal bank cards, certain phones and cash (on buses).

Riders have until Sept. 1 to transfer any unused balances on old fare cards to Ventra.