With new Ventra app, your phone is your ticket for Metra riders

CHICAGO (STMW) - No more having to pay cash for Metra riders, or stopping at a Ventra kiosk to reload your card before hopping on the CTA—the new Ventra smartphone app launching Thursday will allow customers to manage Metra, CTA and Pace tickets on their cellphones.

The app will allow Metra riders to use a smartphone to buy any type of Metra ticket with a credit or debit card, or a Ventra account. The Metra mobile tickets are stored on the smartphone and customers can display them on the their phone screens when the conductor checks for tickets.

The free Ventra app is the first-ever to allow customers to pay for rides on all three transit systems, according to a statement announcing the launch. It will be available on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets via the App Store and Google Play beginning at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

For CTA and Pace customers, the app will allow loading of transit value and passes, account management and account notifications.

The app will also provide tracker information for CTA, Metra and Pace by rail station and bus stop.

The app was developed jointly by the CTA, Metra and Pace; and was funded by the RTA. The agencies plan to add additional account management features later, including card ordering; replacing a stolen or lost card; and a door-to-door trip planner.

Also in a later phase, the app will allow customers to download a virtual Ventra card, which can be touched directly to a Ventra reader on a bus or at a train station.

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