A CTA turnstile promotes the coming Ventra fare card system. The card's debit account option has sparked criticsim over its various fees.

A CTA turnstile promotes the coming Ventra fare card system. The card's debit account option has sparked criticsim over its various fees. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune / March 20, 2013)

Where is my Ventra card?
Chicago Card Plus users who received an email from the CTA and filled out the mailing information should be receiving their cards soon. The CTA said it will finish mailing these cards by the end of the week. About 50,000 registered Chicago Card riders will have their cards mailed out early next week. After mailing, it should take seven to 10 business days to arrive.

I've been using disposable magnetic stripe cards. Where can I get a Ventra card?
Ventra cards can be purchased from vending machines at every rail station or retailers across the city. Call before you go, though. The Ventra website lists Walgreens as carrying the cards, but a check by RedEye on Tuesday found some of these Walgreens stores haven't received them yet. These stores are expected to receive the cards later this month.

I have my Ventra card. What's next?
Register the card at ventrachicago.com to receive $5 back in transit credit. Create a username and password. Manage your account online.

How do I swipe my Ventra card?
The Ventra readers are able to detect personal contactless cards so it's recommended that riders take the Ventra card out of their wallets to wave near the reader so their personal cards are not accidentally charged.

What will the bus and rail readers say?
The readers say "go" if the card works and "stop" if it doesn't. It won't tell riders how much money they have left on their cards or when their unlimited pass is expiring.

I have a Ventra card and want to sign up for the CTA's prepaid debit option.
Once you’ve logged into your Ventra account online and you’re on the account summary page, there is a prepaid debit button (with a green icon) that directs riders to the prepaid debit site, where they can create a prepaid debit account. A chart of prepaid debit card fees.

I don't want to get a Ventra card. I want to use my personal contactless card. How do I do that?
Riders who have this blink logo on their card can swipe the card to ride. Riders can take their personal debit and credit cards to CTA vending machines to put unlimited passes or transit balances on their cards, but they need to stay vigilant of these balances. Riders, at this time, are not able to register their personal bank cards online. All transactions have to be done at Ventra machines at CTA stations until sometime this fall, when the registration option is available.

For riders who don't set aside a transit balance or put an unlimited card on their personal debit or credit card, each time they ride, they will be charged full fare: $2.25 on buses and $2.25 on trains instead of transfer prices. Riders need to set aside a transit balance to get the transfer prices: The first transfer is typically 25 cents while the second transfer is free within two hours.

I am having trouble with my Ventra card. Whom can I contact?
There is a contact form on ventrachicago.com. The Ventra customer service number is 877-669-8368. Twitter users can also talk to Ventra PR by tweeting @VentraChicago.

I still have a balance left on my magnetic stripe card or my Chicago Card. What can I do?
The CTA started this week holding balance transfer events around the city for all passes except unlimited passes. Here are the locations.

I don't want to get a Ventra card or use my personal bank card to ride. What can I do?
The CTA is still accepting cash on buses. Riders can also buy single-ride rail tickets for $3, up from $2.25.

When do I have to switch over?
The CTA will stop accepting Chicago Cards on Nov. 15 and magnetic stripe cards on Dec. 15.

 

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