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Chicago Card Plus $20.00 Automatic Reload

Item Purchased: Chicago Card Plus $20.00 Automatic Reload
Location Purchased: Interwebs
Price: $20.00

Review: If you move as often as I have in the last five years, you know how it goes. You pack up all of your stuff, rent a truck, drive it across town, unload, unpack and get rid of some possessions. Sometimes you shift the configuration of those possessions within your life. There is another name for that shift in configuration. Most people know it as “losing shit.” That’s exactly what happened to my original Chicago Card Plus. Purchased back in 2001 shortly after moving here, I thought it would be a good idea to immerse myself into the city fully: Body, spirit and checking account. I’m not sure how much more of a Chicago ingredient this card made me, but at the time, it saved the broke-ass me a fair amount of money.

The Chicago Card Plus is a smart card that is activated by magnetics on all buses and trains. By entrusting my bank account and public transit usage (including location at time of card swipe) to the Cubic Corporation (who provides combat training systems to the military), I am able to save $0.25 per train or bus ride and up to $1.75 per transfer. When I first purchased the card, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) was deep in an advertising campaign to hype this somewhat new method of transportation transaction so I was able to get the card for free (it now costs $5.00). It operates by keeping a balance of my choosing and automatically reloading from a credit card after the balance falls below $10.00. I have the reload set at $20.00 because it scores me $2.00 free with each reload.

I’m not sure how I feel about the tracking capabilities or having my personal information going to a transportation/combat training company, but I’m no paranoid. I know they already know everything about me and are always watching us anyway.

Yeah. Now where are my anti-radiation sunglasses?

photo by Samuel Keeley via Wikipedia

Rating: 3.75 / 5

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