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CTA, Pace To Start Rolling Out Ventra Fare System In August

A Ventra machine at a CTA station. (CBS)

A Ventra machine at a CTA station. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – CTA and Pace are preparing to roll out their new fare cards, but not everyone will get them at once.

The first to get the new Ventra cards will be those those who currently have the Chicago Card Plus, those who have registered Chicago Cards, and students who use reduced-fare and U-Pass cards. That’s expected in August.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said earlier this month that the rollout will take place in stages.

“It will be a gradual process through 2013, running parallel systems and gradually transitioning folks,” he said.

Other riders will begin to be able to use Ventra cards in September, when CTA plans to make the cards available at nearly 2,000 Chicago-area locations. The old and new fare cards will both be accepted until December, although riders will have till March to transfer leftover balances from old cards to new ones.

Those riders who have contactless credit cards also will be able to use them for fare payment.

Only CTA and Pace will accept the Ventra cards at first; Metra is to be integrated later.

Ventra cards will differ from the existing Chicago Cards in that they also will have an optional debit card function. The debit card fees have been the subject of controversy. CTA has said repeatedly that there will be no charge tacked onto those cards used merely for fare payment.