CHICAGO (CBS) — Getting around Chicago on public transportation is about to get a lot easier. The CTA, Metra, and Pace have announced a new app that will allow riders to pay for fares on all three systems using their mobile devices.

The new Ventra app won’t launch for about a week, but transportation officials said it will revolutionize the way people use the region’s mass transit system.

For the first time ever, the free Ventra app will allow customers of the CTA, Metra, and Pace to pay for rides with a few taps on their mobile devices.

The app, which will be available on iOS and Android devices, will allow riders to use their phone to pay for rides on all three transit systems using debit or credit cards. They’ll also be able to check balances, and receive travel and service information.

Beginning next Thursday, Metra users will not only be able to pay, but also pull up their tickets on their phones to show to train conductors.

CTA and Pace riders won’t be able to use their phones instead of Ventra cards at card readers right away, but will be able to add value to their cards from their phones, even a few seconds before boarding a bus or train.

“We will never, ever, ever have to have a customer stand in line again, unless they just like standing in lines,” Metra CEO Don Orseno said.

Virtual Ventra cards will be available in the near future. When ready, the feature will allow users to simply touch their phone or device to a Ventra reader to pay their fare, rather than having to use a Ventra card.

Even before that phase of the Ventra app kicks in, the head of Pace said it is a huge technological leap forward.

“The issue for Pace has always been that we cover 3,500 square miles, and how do you put out a ticketing system that covers that much region and do it at a cost that you can afford. This is going to give us the opportunity to do that, because essentially everyone will have a vending machine in their hand when we’re all done with this,” Pace executive director T.J. Ross said.

The app eventually also will allow users to order Ventra cards from their phone, and plan out door-to-door trips using all three systems.

Officials said the app has been in the works for a year, and 700 people have been testing it for months.

The app will be available for use on Thursday.