April 29, 2014

Starting Thursday, old CTA cards cannot be loaded with money

Starting Thursday, CTA users will no longer be able to load money onto their Chicago Cards or buy the traditional magnetic-stripe fare cards. The change marks the start of the city’s phase out of these cards.

After May 1, when Chicago Cards or fare cards run out of value, they will stop working. On June 1, old cards will stop being accepted on any CTA service or Pace, the suburban bus service.

The city began the transition to the Ventra card system, a reusable card that can function as both a debit card and fare card, in September. Its introduction was met with a series of problems, including undelivered cards and payment failures at turnstiles and on buses, though these issues have since been mostly resolved.

With Ventra, users are able to auto-load value when the amount on the card drops below a certain value, or load value directly online, at machines, and at retailers. To facilitate the transition, CTA officials will waive the initial $5 card-purchasing fee at card retailers until July 7 and will also offer opportunities for customers to bring a maximum of five old cards with at least $5 total on them and have the value transferred to their Ventra cards.