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New CTA, Pace Fare System Begins Next Summer

File photo of a Blue Line train.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

File photo of a Blue Line train. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

tafoya250 Bernie Tafoya
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CHICAGO (CBS)–The CTA and Pace are announcing a new way to pay for rides, starting in 2013.

WBBM’s Bernie Tafoya reports the new fare payment system starts next summer. You’ll be able to pay with special Ventra cards, or even use your own credit or debit cards that are equipped with special chips, so you can tap the cards to pay for a fare.

The Ventra Card is a new dual-purpose card that includes a Transit Account and an optional Money Network® Prepaid Debit Account. In addition to using the card to pay for train and bus rides on both CTA and Pace, customers can activate the Prepaid Debit Account for everyday purchases, paying bills, and getting cash at ATMs.

Ventra Cards and fare products will be sold at vending machines in rail stations, and will be made available at up to 2,500 retail locations throughout Chicago and the suburbs. Many locations will be within blocks of CTA rail stations and CTA and Pace bus stops.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Eventually, it’s also hoped you’ll be able to use your smart phone as well to pay your fare.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said Chicago will become the first major United States city to adopt an open mass transit fare system.

“The CTA is committed to investing in systems and technology that make taking public transportation easier and more convenient for our customers as CTA ridership continues to grow,” Claypool said.

CTA and Pace will continue offering special fares and things like 7 and 30 day passes. And cash will still be accepted on buses.

The Chicago card and the Chicago card plus will no longer be used starting in 2014.

The new system is expected to result in a savings of more than $50 million to the CTA over the life of the 12-year contract, and resolves the need for CTA and Pace to upgrade and maintain existing fare collection equipment that is nearing the end of its useful life.