New CTA card reloads on credit


By Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune transportation writer

Date of Publication: January 15, 2004
Source: Chicago Tribune


Chicago Transit Authority President Frank Kruesi unveils the Chicago Card Plus new fare card, that will led riders automatically reload a new fare card with their personal credit cards. For a larger view, click here. (Tribune photo. Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Transit Authority riders will be able to automatically reload a new fare card with their personal credit cards.

Starting next week, the Chicago Card Plus works as either a 30-day or a pay-per-use pass. Like the current Chicago Card, the new card would be swiped across a fare box or turnstile, rather than inserted into a fare collection machine.

"The new card speeds up service for our customers," said CTA President Frank Kruesi said. "I've been in plenty of lines at rush hour, where you will see 15, 20 people or more waiting to get on a bus. I can literally see the difference between waiting through two, three, four traffic lights for people to get on."

During a demonstration today using a CTA fare box at the agency's headquarters, five "riders" took 45 seconds to insert a combination of paper currency and coins, 24 seconds to use traditional flexible transit cards and 10 seconds to flash the new electronic cards in front of a fare reader.

Starting Monday, people can apply for the card by going to the CTA's Web site or by calling 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282).

Order forms also will be available on buses, at elevated and subway stations and at CTA headquarters on the 7th floor of the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago.

Patrons could elect to use the card as a 30-day pass for $75 or prepay in $10, $20, $40 or $60 increments as a pay-per-use card. Users would give the CTA a credit card number so the Plus card automatically can be recharged if its balance falls below $10.

Users would get a $1 bonus for every $10 of added value, officials said. A nonrefundable $5 purchase fee will be waived through March 31.

Besides being good for fares and transfers for CTA buses and trains, the card will be accepted on most Pace suburban bus routes.


Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune