We've been hearing a lot about this new Ventra system over the past few months. This will be the new way to collect fares on the CTA and if you currently use either a Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus they will be replace by Ventra next year. You should've recieved an e-mail from CTA with regards to recieving your Ventra cards.
Either way recently John Hilkevitch wrote about a study that illustrates how low-income riders may lose money if they elect not to register their Ventra cards.
The transit agency's officials have said it's an especially good deal for low-income commuters who sign up for an optional prepaid debit MasterCard account, because those people typically "operate outside the financial mainstream and have no relationship with a banking institution,'' according to the CTA.BTW, Ventra has been in the news this past winter because many were concerned about all the fees that were attached. Some of this controversy had some resolution, however you can check this page for all the fees associated with this system. If you don't use cash to ride CTA, I would encourage you to continue to research how this system works for you.
But low-income riders who now use cash to pay fares are unlikely to register their Ventra transit cards, under assumptions made by the CTA fare equity analysis, which was conducted as a test of Title VI requirements of the Civil Rights Act.
As the result of not registering their cards, those customers, who constitute about 11 percent of CTA rail riders, would be ineligible to receive the $5 credit toward future transit rides. The credit is intended as a refund of the $5 that customers pay for the Ventra transit cards.
Failing or refusing to register the Ventra transit card has another drawback. If the card is lost or stolen, no refund will be issued for the remaining value on the card, officials said.
CTA officials said they plan to waive the $5 acquisition fee on an undetermined number of Ventra cards that will be handed out at promotional events this year. Consequently, the impact on low-income and minority riders "could be mitigated by this action,'' the CTA said.