New U-Pass Ventra cards, increased prices coming fall quarter

The old, flimsy U-Pass cards will soon be a thing of the past. DePaul students will receive hard-plastic Ventra cards for the fall quarter when the CTA makes the switch to the new payment system for all customers Sept. 9.

With the new cards, the CTA is increasing daily rates for the U-Pass from $0.81 to $1.07, which is the first daily rate increase for the program in four years. The U-Pass fee will now be $91.50 for fall quarter and $137 for the fall Law School semester, according to the university.

Students at Rush Medical School, Westwood College of Technology and Northwestern University School of Law will be the first to try the new U-Pass cards beginning next week.

“We’re excited to welcome the first users and eager to educate all of our customers about the benefits of Ventra, which will replace an outdated, nearly 20-year-old system with a modern, efficient one that will allow faster boarding, account management and balance protection when the card is registered,” CTA President Forrest Claypool said in a statement.

The initial cost of a Ventra card is $5, but is refunded for use once the card is registered online or by phone.

Riders can still use old magnetic stripe fare cards up until December when they will no longer be accepted. Students should plan ahead for winter intercession with new Ventra payment options as the magnetic stripe unlimited-ride passes will not be available in December.

Balances from magnetic stripe cards may be transferred to Ventra through 2014, but “spending down balances on current cards remains the simplest method of transitioning to Ventra,” according to the CTA.

Distribution dates for fall quarter U-Passes have not been announced at this time.