You now have until the end of the year to get one of the CTA's "smart" cards free of charge before proposed doomsday fare hikes take effect.
The CTA is waiving the $5 fee to obtain a Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus until Dec. 31, to give riders more time to switch to electronic fare cards.
The Chicago Transit Authority is threatening to raise fares to as much as $3 on Nov. 4, and then up to $3.25 on Jan. 6, if it does not receive additional funding from the General Assembly to balance its budget.
But Chicago Card users would pay lower fares than riders paying with cash, day or monthly passes and other CTA transit cards.
Chicago Cards can be ordered online, by phone or by mail, and are also available at some supermarkets and currency exchanges. A list of locations is available here: www.chicago-card.com/cc/buy.aspx.
So far, only 16 percent of all rides taken on the CTA system are paid for with a Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus.