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CTA TO ACCEPT CREDIT, DEBIT CARDS ON FARE CARD PURCHASE!

ALL CTA L STATIONS WILL SOON ACCEPT PLASTIC FOR FARE CARDS GOOD ON TRAINS, BUSES!

In a major convenience move, riders on Chicago Transit Authority L Trains and Buses will soon be able to pay their fares using their Visa, Master Card, Discover, or American Express Cards.  Although the credit or debit cards will not be accepted on buses or at L turnstyles directly, riders can load their cards with up to $25 at L stations, and then use the fare cards they purchase or recharge on any bus or L citywide.

For several years, the transit agency has had an online program involving rechargable "smart cards" - the Chicago Card Plus.  These riders/cardholders have been able to register on the CTA website with their credit card. load their card with a balance between $20 and $80, and have these cards automatically be replenished via the web when their balances get low.  Cards swiped on buses or L train turnstyles would deduct the appropriate fare from the cardholder's account.

Before yesterday, however, riders could buy individual ride fare cards, or non-credit-card based Chicago Card transit cards, using cash only, deposited in the fare card machines.  With the new machines, these same riders can charge up to $25 per day to purchase or increase their individual ride or Chicago cards.

The credit card companies are charging the CTA a percentage fee for credit card acceptance.  This fee will not be passed on to individual riders or Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus cardholders.

The first five of the new credit-card-accepting machines will be installed at O'Hare Airport on the Blue Line L, the Merchandise Mart Station for the Brown Line and Evanston (Purple) Lines, the Clark/Lake and Adams/Jackson Stations in the Blue Line Subway, and at Midway Airport on the Orange Line L.  After a 30-day test at these stations, the remaining 55 machines will be installed at CTA L stations across the city.

Chicago is not the first U.S. city to accept credit cards for transit fare card purchases.  New York City subway riders have been able to use credit and debit cards at stations for several years.  Starting in 2009, commuters from New Jersey to New York using the PATH Commuter Railroad will also be able to pay train fares using plastic.

See Jon Hilkevich's article in today's Chicago Tribune for more information.

DEAN MOSS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

Posted: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 4:51 PM by Dean's Team

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