Love it or loathe it, the Chicago Transit Authority's new Ventra payment system is kicking off soon, with an official launch date set for August.
In a statement released Tuesday, the CTA said "select CTA and Pace customers" would begin using the system in August with a full public rollout following in September.
"We’ve spent nearly two years building and testing this innovative system and are eager for customers to begin integrating Ventra into their daily lives,” CTA President Forrest Claypool in the statement.
Current Chicago Card Plus holders, those with registered Chicago Cards and students who use reduced-fare and U-Pass cards will be the first to get their hands on Ventra cards in August, CBS Chicago reports.
Both existing fare cards and Ventra will both be accepted until December. The CTA provided a timeline of how the transition to the new system will be rolled out in the coming months:
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Text via the CTA
Under the new system, the CTA says passengers can board CTA and Pace buses and CTA trains faster with a tap of the contactless card. Fares will remain the same with a Ventra card, though a disposable single-use rail ticket will cost $3 after fare and fees once Ventra implemented.
Ventra will have both a re-loadable card that functions like the current Chicago Card Plus and a Ventra-ready debit card, both of which attracted criticism when first announced. Critics blasted the high fees, confusing terms of service and the CTA's apparent entry into the banking business via the debit card option.
In March, the CTA announced it would scrap some of the more controversial fees from the Ventra plan.