By Tracy Swartz
If you're nostalgic for the disposable magnetic stripe cards used to pay CTA fares, look no further than the Grand Red Line stop.
There is a small room next to the customer service booth in the Near North Side station that basically functions as a graveyard for old CTA cards. Dozens of cards litter the floor of the room, which is gated. A CTA spokeswoman said the receptacle for the fare cards is broken.
Riders can still use the magnetic stripe cards to pay for CTA rides until further notice. The CTA was scheduled to eliminate this option Dec. 15 in favor of Ventra, but the transition was slowed so that Ventra vendor Cubic Transportation Systems could fix Ventra glitches.
The CTA is soon expected to announce when Ventra will replace the magnetic fare cards and Chicago Cards because Cubic has been meeting the CTA's performance standards for transition.
Before Ventra began, about 75 percent of riders used disposable fare cards. About 80 percent of rides are now paid for by Ventra.
There shouldn't be a litter problem with Ventra either.
"The Ventra card will eliminate the need to throw away used fare cards," CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said in an e-mail.