The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is mailing the new Ventra permits to the Reduced Fare, Ride Free and ADA Paratransit customers. Customers who currently have an RTA Ride Free, Reduced Fare or ADA Paratransit permit will receive a new Ventra permit for use on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace. All customers should receive their new permits by the end of November, 2013.
Reduced Fare, Ride Free and ADA Paratransit customers will use their new permits on Metra just as they do today. Reduced Fare customers will present their permits, along with payment, to a Metra ticket agent or conductor when purchasing their tickets. Ride Free customers will simply present their permit to the Metra conductor. Initially, ADA Paratransit riders will continue to pay for their ADA Paratransit rides using cash or Pace ADA One Ride tickets. They will be able to use their permits to pay for their rides on ADA Paratransit vehicles at a later date.
The new Ventra permit has no fees for transit use, though a $5 monthly transit account dormancy fee will apply to Reduced Fare and ADA Paratransit customers who do not use their Ventra Transit Account for 18 consecutive months. CTA and Pace fares will remain the same and cash will still be accepted on CTA and Pace buses.
Applications to enroll in RTA fare programs can be obtained on the RTA website and at the Customer Service Center, 165 N. Jefferson St., Chicago. Customers can also call RTA Customer Service at 312-913-3110 to have an application mailed to them. Customer Service hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
In June, the RTA mailed more than 550,000 Reduced Fare, Ride Free and ADA Paratransit customers mailers about the transition to Ventra.
RTA Detailed Timeline
- RTA Reduced Fare customers can begin purchasing CTA and Pace stored value and reduced fare passes with their new permits at all CTA rail stations, online, by phone, at hundreds of neighborhood retailers, and the Ventra customer service center at 165 N. Jefferson St. in Chicago.
- Both Ventra and the existing fare systems will run in parallel, and CTA and Pace will accept both old and new permits. Customers are urged to spend down any existing balance on their old permits. While there will be opportunities to transfer stored value balances, the easiest way to transition is to use what is left on the existing permits.
- Metra will accept both old and new permits as verification of program enrollment.
- Reduced Fare and ADA Paratransit customers with smartcards can no longer add or reload transit value at vending machines; balances on cards can still be used or transferred to Ventra.
- Reduced fare 30-day passes will no longer be sold at retail locations; retailers will have fewer reduced fare 30-day passes passes in stock.
- Reduced Fare and ADA Paratransit customers can no longer reload stored value cards.
- Reduced Fare Customers can no longer purchase magnetic stripe 30-Day passes.
- Existing Reduced Fare permits and reduced fare 30-day magnetic stripe passes will be no longer accepted.
- Balance transfers of stored value on magnetic stripe Reduced Fare and ADA Paratransit permits can be transferred to Ventra through March 2014.
- Ride Free magnetic stripe permits will no longer be accepted
- Metra will discontinue acceptance of the existing magnetic stripe Reduced Fare, Ride Free and ADA Paratransit permits as proof of program enrollment. Customers must use their new Ventra permit to receive a reduced fare or a free ride.