Student Ventra Cards

Chicago Public Schools students began using Ventra™ as of the fall 2013 semester. Students who use CTA and/or Pace for transportation to and from school may purchase a new contactless hard plastic Ventra™ CPS Fare Card (replacing the beige or blue magnetic stipe CTA Student Riding Permit). The new Ventra™ CPS Fare Card will allow students to continue to receive the same discounted student fare they are currently eligible for with the CTA and Pace. 

CPS school administrators will continue to sell and distribute student fare cards for our students’ convenience. The Ventra™ CPS Fare Card costs $5 and may only be purchased through your child’s school. Students may only purchase CPS Fare Cards from the CPS school where they are enrolled. All CPS high schools should have fare cards on hand. CPS elementary schools can order student fare cards per parents’ requests.
  1. Using cash, credit or debit cards at any Ventra ™ vending machine in CTA rail stations
  2. At participating Ventra™ retail locations throughout the city, using any type of funds accepted by the retailer 
  3. (For a list of participating Ventra™ retail locations, please visit
  4. Using a credit or debit card over the phone at 1.877.NOW.VENTRA (1.877.669.8368) 
  5.  Registered Cards may also be funded with an adult’s credit or debit card online at

Students presenting the Ventra™ CPS Fare Card will also be able to continue to pay cash on the bus.  

Should you decide to register your Ventra™ CPS Fare Card with the CTA, any value stored on the card will be protected in the event the card is lost, stolen, or damaged.  To register your card with the CTA, please visit or call 1.877.NOW.VENTRA

Please visit the CTA’s frequently asked questions site at for more details on Ventra specific to CPS.


The Chicago Transit Authority is continuing its transition to Ventra™, a convenient, contactless fare payment system.

There are two important upcoming deadlines for students who use the CTA to commute to and from school:

• June 1, 2014: Students will no longer be able to reload value on the old magnetic stripe Student Reduced Fare Transit Card. Also, customer assistants at rail stations will no longer have zero balance Student Reduced
Fare Transit Cards to distribute.

• July 1, 2014: The CTA will no longer accept the old magnetic stripe Student Reduced Fare Transit Card or any other magnetic stripe farecard. A Student Ventra Card will be needed to ride the CTA and receive a student discount.
The Ventra CPS Fare Card costs $3.00 and may be purchased only through your child’s school. It is a reloadable card and will provide students with discounted fares of just $0.75 between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., Monday
through Friday during active school terms.

Please allow 7 to 10 days to process orders for a Ventra CPS Fare Card. To use Ventra, students will no longer need to carry a separate permit. Ventra also allows students and their parents the convenient, secure ability to reload transit value online at, by phone at 1.877.NOW.VENTRA, at rail station vending machines and at retailers and currency exchanges across Chicago.

We strongly encourage parents to register their child’s Ventra CPS Fare Card to protect their balance in the event the Card is lost or stolen and to have access to online account management. Registration is quick and
easy and can be done over the phone or online at

Students’ personal information is not shared with Ventra, and any replacement cards must be ordered by the school administrator where
your child is enrolled.


1. When will CTA’s Student Riding Permit be discontinued?

The CTA Student Riding Permit is already discontinued. The CTA did not create Student Riding Permits for the 2013–2014 school year.

2. What is the Ventra CPS Fare Card?

The Ventra CPS Fare Card is a contactless hard plastic card capable of storing transit value and providing enrolled CPS students with student reduced fare rides on the CTA and reduced fare rides on Pace Suburban Bus Service. The Ventra CPS Fare Card is reusable and will only be deactivated if your child is no longer a CPS student.

• The Ventra CPS Fare Card costs $3.00
• The entitlement to receive a student reduced fare is based on a child’s age and/or their enrollment status
• Children between ages 7 and 11 will receive reduced fare year-round, regardless of enrollment status
• CPS students between ages of 12 and 20 will receive student reduced fares between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday during active school terms

Please note: The Ventra CPS Fare Card can be used for transit only. There is no prepaid debit account option.

3. What is the price of student reduced fare?

When school is in session: Students must present the Ventra CPS Fare Card to receive the student reduced fare rate. Between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.,
Monday through Friday during active school terms, the following rates apply:

• $0.75 per one-way ride
• Students may purchase transfers for an additional $0.15, allowing up to another two rides within a two-hour window of the initial ride

When school is not in session: Students can still use their Ventra CPS Fare Card. However, they will NOT be eligible for the student reduced fare rate.
The following rates apply:

• Elementary students between ages 7 and 11 pay a rate of $1.00 on buses and $1.10 on rail per one-way ride. Transfers may be purchased for an additional $0.15, allowing up to another two rides within a two-hour window of the initial ride
• Students between ages 12 and 20 pay the regular full-fare rate during non-school hours

4. How will my child be able to add transit value/passes to the Ventra CPS Fare Card?

Passes and pay-per-use value can be added to a student’s Card online at, by phone at1.877.NOW.VENTRA, at CTA rail station vending machines and at participating retail locations. Cash can be used to pay for bus rides. Cash will only be accepted on buses after touching the Ventra CPS Fare Card to the reader to receive a student reduced fare rate. It can be loaded onto their Card at Ventra Vending Machines and at
participating Ventra Retail Locations.

5. Am I required to register the Ventra CPS Fare Card with the CTA?

No, Card registration is optional. You can still add value and check the Card balance at participating Ventra Retail Locations and Ventra Vending Machines without registering your child’s Card. You can also check your unregistered Ventra CPS Fare Card balance online and over the phone.

Please note: Transit passes and value will only be protected on Ventra CPS Fare Cards that are registered with the CTA. In the event an unregistered card is lost, stolen or damaged, there is no ability to preserve unused funds.

6. What happens if the Ventra CPS Fare Card is lost, stolen or damaged?

If your child’s Card is lost, stolen or damaged, your child can purchase a new Ventra CPS Fare Card through their school.

7. Will CPS be sharing student data with the CTA?

No. CPS will not be sharing any student data with the CTA. CPS will not be actively tracking your child’s transit history. CPS does reserve the right to review anonymous school-aggregated transit data.