Ventra App: How to Use a Metra Mobile Ticket

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After you've bought a mobile ticket for use on Metra in the Ventra app, it's stored on your device until you're ready to use it.

Activate your ticket when once you're on your train

Once you're on board and your train departs, activate your ticket:

  1. Go to Metra Tickets on the Ventra app home screen.  You can also activate your Metra Tickets from Tickets section of the app.
     
  2. Tap "Use" next to the ticket you wish to use from your Stored Tickets list.
     
  3. You'll be prompted to confirm that you wish to use this ticket. (Do this only once you're on board your train, as you can't undo the activation of a ticket.) Once you confirm, you'll be shown an animated ticket that you can show to the conductor.

    You can go and do other things on your phone while you wait for the
    conductor to come around. If you leave the app and come back, tap "Show"
    to view your ticket.
     
  4. Show the ticket to the conductor when he or she comes around to check for tickets.
    The conductor will ask you to tap your screen; when you do, a pattern of rectangles will
    appear that will verify the ticket is valid.

There's no limit to how many times you can leave the app (and do other things on your phone) and come back to a ticket that has been activated and is still valid.

Recently expired tickets

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.

 


Frequently Asked Questions for Metra Tickets

Metra Mobile Tickets in the App

Paying in the App

 

Questions And Answers

Metra Mobile Tickets in the App

Should I buy my 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 (but unused One-Way, Round Trip Plus and Weekend tickets expire 90 days after purchase; and unused Ten-Ride tickets expire a year after purchase.)

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How long are 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.

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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.

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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 over 1,000 retail locations around town, including most currency exchanges and drugstores.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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Can I use the app to pay for other people traveling with me on Metra?

Yes – You can activate multiple tickets in the app to cover the fares of people traveling with you on Metra trains! Just activate your ticket, then go back and activate another. You can also activate multiple one ride tickets at one time if you have 10-Ride Tickets - when you select a 10-Ride Ticket to use, you'll be prompted to enter how many of the rides you want to use.  You can even activate a reduced fare ticket for people traveling with you who qualify.  The number of tickets you are using will appear on the activated ticket so the conductor can see how many rides you paid for.

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I just got a new phone and logged into the Ventra app. 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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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.

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How do I use pre-tax transit benefit money through work for use in 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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