Pace Bus - Ventra Fare Payment System

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Ventra® is here, Pace riders

Introducing Ventra logo with card, ticket and credit card

Ventra is Pace and CTA's new payment system that allows customers to use a single fare card for regional transit throughout the Chicago area. Customers can pay for Pace bus and CTA train and bus rides with the following contactless payment methods:

  • Ventra Card, a transit card that can be used for transit and everyday purchases;
  • Ventra Tickets, for single-ride and 1-day passes; and
  • Personal bank-issued credit or debit cards (if they contain a contactless chip).

Riders simply tap their payment card to the Ventra reader to board any bus or train on Pace and CTA.

The agencies continue to offer special fares and multi-day passes, including 30-day and 7-day, and still accept cash on buses. Customers will also eventually be able to use their compatible mobile phones to pay for rides on Pace and CTA.

Ventra is available to all customers on Pace's fixed route buses and on all CTA trains and buses and replaced Pace and CTA's existing fare systems on July 1, 2014.

Visit to learn more, get a Ventra card, add passes and transit value to it, and manage your Ventra Transit Account.



NEW - Ventra mobile app

The Ventra mobile app will provide riders a “one-stop shopping” experience — allowing users to add transit value and load passes to their Ventra Card, check account balances and receive real-time account alerts.

The free app, which is being developed by Pace, CTA and Metra, will be available for use on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets starting in 2015.
For more information, see this:

You can now tap and board Pace and CTA with a single fare card to get around Chicagoland. To help transition to this easy new way to pay, some Pace fare policies have changed or will change:

  • The Ventra Card will continue to offer 25-cent transfers and free local transfers for riders using transit value. As of July 1, transfer cards are no longer issued.
    • The farebox equipment now in use is nearly 20 years old and is no longer produced or supported by its manufacturer. The issuance of transfers is no longer possible with the upgrade to Ventra fare collection equipment.
    • Reduces costs associated with handling cash and encourages the use of secure electronic payment methods.
    • Matches CTA policy regarding the issuance of transfers to cash-paying customers.

  • The all-new, Premium 30-Day Pass is available for Express Routes.
    • The pass is valid for 30 days from first use on all Pace premium and regular fare routes and saves money for frequent riders versus daily cash fares.
    • The new pass was developed in response to requests from riders of Express Routes.
    • The pass can be added to a Ventra account online, via telephone or at any participating Ventra retail outlet.

  • The 10-Ride Plus Tickets have been replaced by the Ventra Card, allowing you to add the amount of transit value you need.
    • Pace no longer sells or accepts 10-Ride Plus Tickets. Unused, unexpired 10-Ride Plus Tickets can be returned to Pace for a refund in the form of transit value on a registered Ventra account. Please see the balance transfer information below.
    • The elimination of the 10-Ride Plus ticket is in response to declining usage, the inability to buy a cash transfer when using the pass, and it allows Pace to consolidate the menu of available pass options.
    • On average, 10-Ride Passes were used an average of between eight and nine times before expiration, so many passengers did not take advantage of all the rides for which they had paid.
    • Ventra's account-based system allows customers to prepay for the number of rides they need while enjoying the ability to manage their account online or by phone and have the security to replace a lost or stolen card.
    • The Ventra Card offers 25-cent transfers or free local transfers for customers using transit value.

  • The 30-Day Reduced Fare Pass replaced the Student Haul Pass.
    • There is no change in price and students now have the flexibility to begin the 30-day pass period when desired.
    • Students retain full access to discounted rides on Pace buses.
    • Ventra's account-based system protects a student's pass and any transit value that has been loaded onto the card in the event that it is lost or stolen.
    • See this explanation and this order form related to obtaining a Ventra Card with a student entitlement.

  • As of January, 2014, college students need to load the Campus Connection Pass to a Ventra Card with a college entitlement applied to his/her transit account, and use the Ventra Card to ride.
    • Please see this explanation for how students can obtain their entitlement.
    • Students should use this form to obtain the college entitlement.
    • There is no change in price of the Campus Connection Pass.
    • College and university administrators who want to distribute Ventra Cards to their students should see this explanation and this order form.
    • Ventra's account-based system protects a student's pass and any transit value that has been loaded onto the card in the event that it is lost or stolen.

  • Riders who pay with an unregistered personal contactless credit/debit card will be charged as if paying cash—including paying full fare each time they board a vehicle.
    • Riders will soon be able to register a personal contactless bankcard to act as a fare payment card, which is linked to a Ventra account. A registered personal contactless bankcard allows all the same benefits and savings as a Ventra Card.
    • Riders can link their contactless bankcards to an unregistered (anonymous) Ventra account at any Ventra vending machine, so as to take advantage of transfers and multi-day passes. This option does not offer the benefits of registering a Ventra account, such as balance protection.

  • The cost of single-ride tickets on limited use fare media increased from $1.75 to $2.00 to include the cost of transfers.
    • Pace's base fare remains $1.75. This change only affects Pace the single-ride ticket product sold on limited use media (Ventra Tickets).
    • The Ventra-compatible single-ride ticket allows two transfers to other Pace services within 2 hours of first use.
    • Pace's single-ride and one-day tickets are sold only in bulk to organizations approved by Pace.

Pace's Fare Media Balance Transfer Policy

Pace customers are no longer able to use any magnetic stripe or punch tickets, nor spend down any unused money stored on magnetic stripe farecards. All Pace fixed route fares are now paid with Ventra or cash.

Customers who were unable to use up their magnetic stripe media were eligible for balance transfers under certain circumstances, and only until September 1, 2014. 

As part of the transition to Ventra, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) issued new Reduced Fare, Ride Free and ADA Paratransit permits to more than 550,000 seniors and people with disabilities currently enrolled in its Reduced Fare, Ride Free and ADA Paratransit programs.

Customers must activate their Ventra-compatible permit prior to first use.  For help, please see the instructions that were mailed with your card or contact the RTA at (312) 913-3110.

New permits were distributed during late 2013. The RTA encourages all customers to spend down their balances on their current cards before using their new permits. However, the RTA will announce balance transfer events to take place during spring and summer.

If you have recently moved or have questions about the new permits, please contact the RTA's Customer Service Center at 312-913-3110. For more information about the transition, you can also visit the RTA website at


Ventra photo


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