Metra ending website ticket sales; steers riders to Ventra app

 
Daily Herald staff
Updated 4/2/2018 12:58 PM
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  • Commuters like these boarding a Metra train in Elgin will no longer be able to buy tickets online after June 30, but the agency is steering people toward its Ventra app.

      Commuters like these boarding a Metra train in Elgin will no longer be able to buy tickets online after June 30, but the agency is steering people toward its Ventra app. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, file photo

Metra will stop selling tickets on its website by the end of June and is steering customers toward its Ventra app instead.

The commuter rail agency says it will save money by ending ticket sales at metrarail.com, where riders have been able to buy 10-ride tickets and set up automatic orders for recurring monthly passes.

"We understand this change will inconvenience some Metra customers," said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. "However, we are trying to find efficiencies wherever we can."

Sales of monthly passes will end June 20, for the July pass, and sales of 10-ride tickets will end June 30.

Metra, in a statement, said sales online have declined, especially after the introduction of Ventra for mobile tickets in 2015.

Online sales of monthly tickets peaked in 2014 at 5,162 per month, compared to 2,654 a month in 2017, the agency reported. Ten-ride tickets sold through the website peaked in 2011, with 4,875 a month on average. Last year, 1,201 10-rides per month were sold.

By ending online sales, Metra says it will save $144,000 a year for website hosting and maintenance and avoid $70,000 in credit card security upgrades this year. The agency reported it also had faced at least $240,000 to convert website sales to work with Metra's new revenue accounting system.

Riders' alternatives include the free Ventra app to buy mobile tickets on their smartphones or buying at ticket windows or ticket vending machines.

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