Frequently Asked Questions

General app questions

App Basics

Managing Ventra Cards in the App

Metra Mobile Tickets in the App

Paying in the App

Ventra App Transit Tracker and Favorites

 

Ventra Generic Image

 

 

Questions and Answers

 

App Basics

 

I have a Ventra account but don't remember my username or password. How do I find it?

If you don't know your Ventra account username, you can look it up online You’ll just need to know the email address that was used to create an account.

If you don't know your password, you can reset your password online. You'll just need to log in with the temporary password we send you on the Ventra website and reset it to your chosen password.

If you need additional assistance, call Ventra Customer Service at 1.877.NOW.VENTRA (1.877.669.8368).

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Do I need to have a credit card to use the Ventra app?

Nope—you can use the app to keep track of your fare and get real-time account notifications, even if you load cash at Ventra Vending Machines or over the counter at Ventra retail locations.

You can even buy and use Metra mobile tickets using cash value you’ve loaded into your Ventra account.

If you’d like to load value or passes into your Ventra Card’s transit account, however, you will need to have a credit or debit card.

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Can I touch my phone to a Ventra reader to pay with the Ventra app?

This version of the app won't replace your Ventra Card—you'll still need a physical Ventra Card to ride CTA and Pace.

Ventra Card readers do accept direct, contact payments for fare. You can already use Apple Pay, Android Pay and contactless bankcards at Ventra readers.

CTA is working with Apple and Google to add Ventra Cards to the Apple Wallet and Google Pay. This functionality is coming soon.

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How do I find the version of the app I’m using?

Tap the options menu (three vertical dots in the upper right of most main screens of the app) and select Help. You'll see your current beta version number at the bottom of the screen.

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How do I find my unique “device name” or “device ID”?

Tap the options menu (three vertical dots in the upper right of most main screens of the app) and select Account. Depending on your settings, you may be prompted to authenticate. Your unique device name will appear in the list on this screen.

Right now, you can't edit your device name.

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How do I report a problem?

If you would like to tell the app team about a bug you found, use our App Feedback form to let us know. Please note as much detail as you can and, if possible, what specific steps we might take to reproduce an error ourselves for troubleshooting.

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How do I talk to someone for help?

You can contact Ventra Customer Service by calling 1.877.NOW.VENTRA (1.877.669.8368).

If you would like to tell the app team about a bug you found, use our App Feedback form to let us know. Please note as much detail as you can and, if possible, what specific steps we might take to reproduce an error ourselves for troubleshooting.


Managing Ventra Cards in the App

 

What’s a pass?

Passes loaded into Ventra Cards’ transit accounts let you have unlimited rides during a given period of time from the first time you use it. For example, if you have some money on a Ventra Card and add a CTA 3-Day Pass, it’ll allow you to ride as much as you like for three days (72 hours) starting the exact next time you ride CTA.

When you load a pass, the pass is loaded into your pass queue until it’s needed to cover a ride. Then, your next eligible ride will be covered by the pass. A pass in queue will automatically become active as soon as it is tapped at a Ventra reader and is needed to cover your fare.

Passes only cover the first rider, so if you’re also paying for others traveling with you, their fares will be deducted from transit value loaded onto your Ventra Card.

See the Ventra terms of service for an explanation of how passes in your pass queue are activated and in what order (in the event you have more than one kind in your queue at a time).

How up to date is my balance in the My Ventra Cards part of the app?

The balance shown in the app (after it refreshes) is the latest available balance in your Ventra transit account.

If you just took a ride a few seconds ago, this might not be reflected in your balance right away—but once info about your ride gets from the reader up to our servers and your fare is calculated, you’ll see your updated balance in the app instantly and more detail show in your ride history a little later.

When you load value or passes in the app, these both appear and are available for use right away.

If I have insufficient fare to ride or a negative balance, how quickly can I correct this within the app?

Whenever you load value in the app, it’s available immediately for use and your card should start working again, instantly. (Loading fare on the website takes a few minutes longer, so always use the app for instant results.)

If I load value or a pass in the app, how quickly is it available for use?

Value and passes you load in the app are available for use immediately on CTA and Pace—just like at a vending machine.

Why don't I see my most recent ride or the fare that was deducted in my transit history?

It can take a little while (up to 20 minutes, though often much faster) for rides you've taken with your Ventra Card to appear in your transit history. This is because data about your use of a card at a reader, such as on a bus, needs to get back to our servers and be processed before it can appear in your history.

You may also see "pending trip pricing" while the transaction is still being fully processed by our systems.

I got on the bus earlier and checked my balance after I sat down, but it looks like it's changed since then. Why?

Since rides you take need to be sent up to our servers from the reader where you touch your card, it can take a little while for the ride to be reported in our system and the balance to be deducted. This usually happens in seconds, but can sometimes take a few minutes.

If your balance goes low (below $5) or a negative balance has occurred, we'll let you know right away if you haven't disabled app and/or email notifications about your transit account.

I have a U-Pass. Can I use the Ventra app?

Absolutely. You can register your U-Pass in the app or at ventrachicago.com and manage your fare in the app—including checking your balance, adding value, loading passes and controlling autoload, just like anyone else with a Ventra Card.

Remember, outside of school terms, where you're enrolled full time, your U-Pass will need to have fare or regular passes added to keep riding, since regular fares are charged off-season. You can even set up autoload so you've always got backup fare for when school goes out of session.

And remember, you can also use the app to buy and use Metra mobile tickets, too!

I have a reduced fare card. Can I use the app?

Yes! You can register your card in the app or at VentraChicago.com and manage your account in the app, including checking your balance, adding value, loading passes and controlling autoload, just like anyone else with a Ventra Card.

And remember, you can also use the app to buy and use Metra mobile tickets, too! Just remember that you'll still need credentials to show that you are eligible for a reduced fare when you show the conductor a reduced fare mobile ticket on Metra trains.

 

Metra Mobile Tickets in the App

 

Should I buy my Metra mobile ticket before I get on the train?

Yes. Buying your tickets in advance helps make sure you’re ready to go when you get on the train. Tickets you buy are stored on your device until you use them. Unused One-Way, Round Trip Plus and Weekend Tickets expire 90 days after purchase and unused Ten-Ride Tickets expire a year after purchase.

When do I activate my Metra mobile ticket?

Once you've bought your ticket, it stays stored on your device until you're ready to use it. Activate ("use") your ticket only once you're on your train. You can then go and do other things on your phone and come back to the ticket during your ride if asked to show your ticket later.

How long are the Metra mobile tickets I purchase good for?

One-Way Tickets, Round Trip Plus Tickets and Weekend Passes are good for 90 days from purchase.

10-Ride Tickets are good for a year from purchase.

Monthly Passes are good from the 1st day of the calendar month and until noon on the 1st business day of the following calendar month.

Remember to buy your tickets in advance of when you ride so you've got a ticket and are ready to activate it as soon as you sit down on the train.

Is there a surcharge if I buy a ticket in the app?

No - buying a Metra mobile ticket costs the same as a paper ticket at a ticket window or from a machine.

Can I use the app to buy Metra mobile tickets without creating a Ventra account?

No. You must create a Ventra account to purchase Metra tickets. The Ventra app is free and easy-to-use; it allows you to take full advantage of all the app’s features. You can store your credit or debit cards, including pre-tax transit benefits debit cards, so you don’t have to enter the information every time you buy a mobile ticket. It also allows you to split your payment between two cards – very handy for those who use a pre-tax transit benefits debit card that does not fully cover the cost of a Monthly Pass. It allows you to recover your mobile tickets if your phone is lost, stolen, damaged or replaced. And if you have a Ventra card, it allows you to check your balance, add value, add passes, get account notifications and more

Can I use the app to buy Metra mobile tickets even if I don’t have a debit or credit card to pay with?

Yes. If you’ve created a Ventra account you can log in and use transit value from that card’s account to buy a Metra mobile ticket. You can load value with cash at any Ventra Vending Machine or at any of about 1,000 Ventra retail locations around town, including most currency exchanges and drugstores.

How do I use a mobile ticket in the app on board a Metra train?

When you board your train, select "Use” and tap next to the ticket you’d like to use from the app home screen. You’ll be prompted to confirm activation. Then show your mobile ticket to the conductor when the conductor is checking for tickets. He or she will ask you to touch the screen – a pattern of rectangles will appear. This is a quick way for the conductor to visually check that the ticket is valid.

If necessary, the conductor may also ask you to touch the white field at the top of the ticket, which will show a QR code and information about the ticket’s activation and validity. This will further verify the ticket as valid. You can navigate away from the app and return to reopen your mobile ticket (it’ll show as “In Use”) as many times as you need to during your ride.

How does the 10-Ride Ticket work in the app?

When you buy a 10-Ride Ticket, you’ll see that you have 10 tickets of that type in your “Stored Tickets” under “My Metra Tickets.” It’s almost like having a little book of 10 One-Way Tickets. When you go to use one of the rides, it’ll activate just one ticket and the rest will remain as “Stored Tickets” until you need them. If you’re traveling with a group, you can activate as many of the stored rides as you need.

What happens if I put my phone away and am asked to show my ticket again?

Metra mobile tickets stay active on the home screen and in the “Activated, In Use” section of the “Tickets” screen for a set amount of time – tickets for longer trips (as determined by the origin and destination, or zones) remain active longer than shorter trips. Round Trip Plus, Monthly and Weekend tickets remain active for the day, month or weekend they are activated. If you put your phone away or leave the app to do something else, you can always go back and reopen it – just select “Show” to reopen it. 

What happens if something delays my train after I’ve activated my ticket?

If you activate your ticket and something happens that delays your train, no worries! Tickets that have been recently used will remain on your phone as “Expired” for three hours after they expire, and your conductor will know whether to accept an expired ticket as valid in such circumstances.

Can I use Metra mobile tickets to ride any Metra line?

Yes! Mobile tickets in the app are accepted on all Metra trains.

Can I use the Ventra app to travel to/from Hegewisch?

No. That service is provided by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (the South Shore Line), which does not accept Metra tickets. 

I just got a new phone and logged in. Why don't I see my tickets?

When you buy a mobile ticket for use on Metra trains, the ticket is downloaded and stored on your device.

By storing tickets on your device (rather than keeping them on our servers), your tickets are still available even if you need to use your ticket in a place where you don't have an internet connection (such as when you're in underground stations or in a cellular "dead zone").

You can, however, easily move tickets bought while signed into the Ventra app from one device to another.

Learn more about how to move tickets to a new device.

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How do I get my Metra mobile tickets from the old app?

Tickets from the old app can be imported right into your new app.

If you still have unused tickets in our old app (white icon), they can be imported to the new app (blue icon).

There are two ways to do this:

  • The first time you log into the app, it'll prompt you to import tickets from the old app, if you have any.

  • If you skip this on first login, you can choose to import tickets from the old app from the main Metra tickets screen. A button “Move tickets to this device” will appear below the "Buy Metra Tickets" button.  Tap this button to move tickets from the old app to the new (blue icon) app. 

When you do this, all tickets from all your account's devices with the old app will be brought over to the new app.

If you share your account with others and they also ride Metra, they’ll need to upgrade to the new app to be able to retrieve and move their own tickets back to their device.

Note: Though the import process imports all tickets from all devices on your account using the old app, if you share your Ventra user account with others, tickets can easily be moved between users of the new app by using the "Move tickets to this device" button at the bottom of the Metra Tickets section of the app from the phone you want to move tickets onto.  If you still have unused tickets in our old app (white icon), they can be imported to the new app (blue icon). Learn more here.
 

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How do I move the tickets from another device once I have the new app?

Just go to the Metra tickets section and choose Move tickets to this device. You'll be shown tickets on other devices in your account and can move them to the device you're using, instantly.

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Can I move tickets from the new app back to the old app?

Sorry, but this isn't possible. Once your old app's tickets have been imported into the new Ventra app, this action can't be undone.

If for some reason find yourself unable to use the new app and must switch to the old app, you can contact Ventra Customer Service who may be able to help further at 1.877.NOW.VENTRA (1.877.669.8368).

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Paying in the App

 

How do I add a credit or debit card in the app?

If you're signed in, you can add payment cards by going to the “Options” menu (three vertical dots in the top right corner of most app pages) and then select “Payment methods”. You can also add payment methods on ventrachicago.com—they'll automatically appear in the app.

If you haven't done this in advance of trying to make a purchase in the app, you can also add one as part of the checkout process. The card will be stored in your account once you've completed the transaction.

How do I use pre-tax transit benefit money through work with the app?

You set up pre-tax Transit Benefits through your employer, if they offer it (if they don't, tell them you'd like it!).

There are two ways to use Transit Benefit money with the app:

  1. Have it delivered to a Ventra Card's transit account: If you can have money delivered to a Ventra Card's transit account, set this up to have transit benefit value automatically appear. This money can cover fares paid with a Ventra Card on CTA and Pace and can also be used as a funding source when you buy a CTA or Pace pass or Metra mobile ticket right from within the app.

    If you don't have enough benefit value to cover your pass purchase or a monthly Metra mobile ticket purchase, you can choose "split payment" to split the difference between your transit benefit value and another payment method.
     
  2. Use a prepaid transit benefit debit card as your payment method: If you've been issued a special transit-only debit card on which your benefit money is loaded, you can set up that debit card as a funding source in the app to pay for transit.

You can also split payments between two credit/debit cards in the app, so if the maximum benefit value is less than a Metra mobile ticket you wish to purchase, you can cover your purchase with two payments.

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Can I set up autoload using Apple Pay or Google Pay as a funding source instead of a credit card?

No. Although many apps allow you to set up subscriptions (such as news or video services that require a flat monthly fee for access), autoload on Ventra Cards’ value or passes is not a subscription service but triggered by the Ventra system whenever your fare runs low or a pass is near expiration.

 

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Can I pay for a Divvy in the Ventra app?

Not yet, but we're working on adding payment integration to a future version of our app so you can do everything right in the Ventra app. For now, the app will pass you to the official Divvy App to make direct payments and get ride codes.

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Ventra app Transit Tracker and Favorites

 

Is arrival information real-time in the Transit Tracker for all of CTA, Metra and Pace?

Information you see in the app is the same as what you'd find on the web-based trackers published by all three agencies, which, depending on the service, can be a combination of real-time and schedule-based information.

In general, most imminent information (for vehicles that are already in service) is real-time. Estimated arrival/departure information for service that is further in the future (for transit services that have not yet gone into service) is often estimated based on scheduled departure times.

Whenever the Metra departure times are updated in Metra's Rail Time Tracker, the same information is reflected in the Ventra app.

How do I pick a stop manually, like in the old app?

The new app is centered around fewer taps, so it shows you nearby stops and lets you search for stops by name.

However, if you want to find a stop the old way, we’ve made sure you can still do that, too: Just go to the Trip Tools section of the app, tapping the search box, then “Find Route/Stop Manually”.

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How do I add a favorite stop?

Find your stop in Trip Tools to see arrivals. To flag it as a favorite:

  1. Tap to show more info about your stop.
  2. Tap View Line.
  3. Tap the heart icon in the upper right.
  4. Tip: If this is a stop shared between routes and you want to favorite all arrivals at this stop, tap the "show all" button at the bottom, first, then tap the heart icon in the upper right.

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How do I add a favorite destination?

You can pan to a favorite location on a map or search for an address or place from the search box in the Trip Tools section of the app. Once you see the location on the map, you can tap the heart icon in the upper left-hand corner to flag this location as a favorite destination.

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How do I un-favorite a stop?

When you tap a favorite stop to see arrivals from your home screen and see the full departure board for your stop, tap the favorite heart icon to un-favorite this stop (you’ll see the heart icon clear and the stop will no longer show on your home screen). How do I un-favorite a destination?

Tap the “X” next to the location on your home screen to delete it.