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Changes coming as Link-Up, PlusBus cards transition to Ventra

(October 31, 2013) - 
The transition for Link-Up and PlusBus cards from magnetic stripe cards to the new Ventra-branded cards has been delayed. That means Metra Monthly Pass users who buy a Link-Up or PlusBus card for connecting travel to the CTA and Pace will continue to receive a magnetic stripe card until the new Ventra-compatible cards are available.
The PlusBus magnetic stripe cards will look the same. However, the Link-Up magnetic stripe card will look different: it will say “30-day pass” on the front and back, but printed on the back will be “Metra Link-Up” and a message indicating the month it is valid. It will be valid for the entire month. These are the cards supplied to Metra by the CTA.
When the transition to Ventra Link-Up and PlusBus cards occurs, riders need to be aware of several changes. Riders simply need to tap the cards on the Ventra readers on CTA and Pace buses and on CTA train turnstiles to pay their fares. They will not need to register their cards with Ventra.
The new cards will be available through Metra’s usual sales channels. The price of the cards will not change, nor will the rules governing when the cards can be used.
  • The Link-Up Card will still cost $55 and will be valid for unlimited rides on Pace at all times and on the CTA on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. 
  • The PlusBus Card will still cost $30 and be valid for unlimited rides on Pace at all times.
Unlike the old cards, which were valid during the month printed on the back, the new cards are valid for 30 days from the first date of use and do not have a date printed on them.
Because of that change:
  • Riders should remember not to use their cards before the first day of the month. To help riders keep track of their cards, Metra will affix a sticker indicating the month and year on the cards starting in January. (We don’t want riders to accidentally use the wrong card; for instance, at the end of the month when they still are using their January card but have already received their February card.)
  • For CTA Link-Up users during certain 31-day months and for Pace Link-Up and PlusBus users during all 31-day months, a different procedure for paying fares will be required on the 31st day. In those months, the 30-day cards no longer will be accepted by the Ventra readers on the 31st day (assuming they were activated on the 1st day of the month). Instead, riders will need to show their Link-Up or PlusBus cards to the bus operator or CTA rail station attendant to gain entry to the system.
Link-Up and PlusBus cards are not refundable. Problems or damaged cards should be reported to Ventra at 1-877-669-8368.
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