With today's launch of the Ventra fare payment system by the Chicago Transit Authority, Pace and Cubic Transportation Systems, public transit users will be able to purchase Ventra cards from more than 700 retailers who have signed on to sell them, the CTA announced Friday in a press release.
By 2014, the number of participating Ventra Retail Locations throughout the city and suburbs is targeted to grow to nearly 2,000 locations across the Chicago area, according to the release.
“Expanding the retail network is critical to making Ventra easily accessible to CTA and Pace riders,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “Ventra will soon be conveniently available at neighborhood retailers as well as online, by phone and at all CTA rail stations.”
Pace Executive Director T.J. Ross said in a statement the retail network and the ability to add value to an account online or by phone is a "major upgrade" for Pace passengers.
In addition to major retailers, including CVS/pharmacy and Jewel-Osco, Ventra cards will be available at launch at hundreds of Currency Exchanges and independent neighborhood shops. Walgreens will begin offering Ventra cards at 159 locations shortly after the September launch, according to the release.
Customers will also be able to add passes and transit value to their Ventra Card at the retail locations.
“The Ventra Card is an exciting new transit product that will make it easier for Chicago-area commuters to get where they need to go,” said David Vite, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “Across the region, participating retailers of all sizes will provide their customers with access to this convenient new way to pay for transit.”
Together, the CTA and Pace provide more than 580 million rides each year. More than 80 percent of these riders take the CTA and/or Pace every day, and 40 percent buy their passes at retail locations. With the expansion of retailers offering the Ventra Card, CTA and Pace customers will have better access to fare products where they live, work and socialize.
Ventra is the CTA and Pace’s new contact-less payment system that allows riders to simply tap their Ventra Card, Ventra Ticket or bankcard on a Ventra reader to board the CTA and Pace.
Information courtesy of a news release from the Chicago Transit Authority.