Tag: Chicago Card Plus

CTA fare breakdown for Ventra and fares it replaces

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.

My Chicago Card Plus tells me how often I use the CTA

In this interview with Chicago Transit Authority president Forrest Claypool, I admitted to him and everyone else in the room (three bloggers and three CTA staff) that I rarely ride the CTA. The purpose of my admission was to explain how I gathered up so many questions. A lot of them come from friends and Grid Chicago readers. I always use my Chicago Card Plus to pay for fares because it’s extremely convenient: I never have to worry about having the correct fare and it can be replaced for a nominal $5 fee, protecting your money (the Chicago Card doesn’t have the same benefit because it can’t be registered). Anyway, it also tracks you and you can look up your history. I looked at it to understand just how rarely I use the CTA.

The Chicago Card Plus website shows your data in two ways: the last 5 transactions, and the last 90 days. It turns out that the last 5 transactions were beyond the 90 day period.

  • June 29, train (Blue Line)
  • May 22, bus (56/Milwaukee)
  • March 31, bus (I don’t remember which, but probably the Belmont bus with my mom)
  • March 31, bus

The fifth transaction was loading the card with more money. I think there was one other bus use on March 31, because the most recent two showed as transfer transactions. So I’ve added one more to the list.

  • March 31, bus

Five uses in 98 days, or 1 ride per 19.6 days.