Chicago transit riders with Apple Pay will soon be able to add their Ventra cards to the Apple Wallet application and pay for CTA trains and buses with touchless swipes of their iPhones, city officials and Apple announced this week.
The planned integration “will build on the strength of the existing Ventra system to make commuting in Chicago even easier and more convenient, and help modernize America’s second largest mass transit system for the 21st century,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Transit Authority president Dorval Carter in a joint statement on Monday.
Although CTA payment devices can already charge credit or debit cards added to an individual’s Apple Wallet, the move will allow users to withdraw directly from Ventra accounts. City officials have yet to announce a launch date for the new feature, but it is expected to debut later this year.
In addition to Ventra functionality on Chicago’s CTA and Metra systems, Apple will roll out similar payment options for transit networks in New York and Portland. The company also announced plans to offer Apple Pay users an in-house “Apple Card” credit card starting this summer, according to The Verge.
Meanwhile, the CTA is working to implement other upgrades aimed at improving the customer experience. Recent initiatives include complimentary WiFi service at a growing number of stations and a pilot program testing out specialty vending machines offering portable phone chargers, passport photos, and fresh salads.