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Facing Criticism, CTA Cuts Some Fees For Its New Transit-Debit Card

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roberts250 Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts is a native of Wilmette who has worked in Chicago media...
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(CBS) — Pushback by riders and consumer groups have prompted the CTA to pull back on some of the fees it intended to charge when it introduces its new Ventra transit fare card this summer.

Spokesman Brian Steele said CTA will waive the $5 registration fee for riders who obtain Ventra cards before year’s end. The fee was automatically credited to new Ventra cards for use as fares.

In addition, the transit agency will eliminate a $2 fee to speak with a Ventra customer representative and has reached agreement with Allpoint for free cash withdrawals at its 1,000 Chicago-area automatic teller machines. Riders also will be able to use Allpoint’s more than 40,000 ATMs outside of the Chicago area without charge.

Steele said the decision to seek the fee-free withdrawals was the result of prompting from consumer groups.

Customers who want paper statements will be charged $1 a month instead of $2, and those who want to quit the Ventra system will be charged $5 instead of $6, Steele said.

A number of fees remain.

Steele said those who lose Ventra cards will still have to pay $5 for a replacement card.  Those who don’t use their cards for 18 months will face a $5 a month “dormancy fee,” while those who sign up for the optional debit account and fail to use it over an 18-month period will be charged $2 a month.

Once the Ventra system is in full operation, the price of a single-fare ticket will increase from $2.25 to $3.

In return, CTA is agreeing to give up a minimum of $500,000 a year in proceeds from Ventra debit card fees. Steele said CTA still expects to save $50 million over 10 years by moving to the Ventra system, which is the product of a $454 million contract with Cubic Transportation Systems and a variety of partners that includes MasterCard.

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