This CTA graphic shows all the fare media Ventra replaces.
The Chicago Transit Authority expanded its pilot contactless card fare payment technology systemwide in 2002, and introduced Chicago Card Plus, which added the benefit of linking to a credit/debit card, in 2004. After 11 years, the two cards were hardly “popular” as Jon Hilkevitch called them today. In the context of his article I believe he meant “liked” or “admired” and not widespread, as Ventra does not have the same admiration because of all of the issues people are experiencing.
While Chicago Card/Plus users likely preferred this fare payment over magnetic stripe, for their convenience and speed, a minority of passengers used it.
Data from CTA for January to July 2013, representing 1.6 million average weekday rides.
Magnetic Stripe: 75%
CCP & CC: 19% (17% & 2% respectively)
Bus Cash: 6%
Ventra? 69% this week.