I'm heading back to Chicago on a business trip, and thought I had better put some money on my Ventra Card so that I can use the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). I was surprised to find extra money on my card when I went to reload it!
Ventra is, in my humble opinion, one of the best things they implemented to advance public transit in Chicago. I know there was a huge up-front cost to install the technology, but the results are paying dividends.
First, I no longer have to line up at one of the vending machines to purchase a ticket. I can reload it online before my trips. Not only that, the beauty of Ventra is that people are able to use it not only as a way to pay for transit, but they can use it to make everyday purchases and as a means to withdraw cash from ATMs. It's a one-stop card. I also realize that for some people that could be dangerous, but that's a whole other topic of discussion. To read (and see) about how Ventra works, click here.
We should see more cities following the lead of Chicago. Making transit easy is one way to encourage use of public transit. In fact, with the next step in the evolution of Ventra, you probably will. In March, 2015, CTA transit officials unveiled a test version of the Ventra app for smartphones. This is a huge step to standardize a fare-payment system in Chicago.
Rollout was scheduled for May/June, 2015, but at the time of this post, the free app is not yet available. To read more about the Ventra app, click here.
One final note, Ventra is no way connected to or affiliated with Asajj Ventress, trained assassin and student of Count Dooku. I know. I'm a geek because 'Ventra' reminds me of 'Ventress'. But it's Star Wars, so sue me!