Case Studies

Chicago CTA elevated train with high-rise buildings.


Three Public Transit Agencies. One New Payment Method. Millions of Customers Onboard.

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Pace Suburban Bus and Metra Commuter Rail, in partnership with Cubic Transportation Systems, launched an innovative open-fare payment system in 2013. Using contactless technology, riders simply tap their card or phone to board trains and buses. This new technology changed the daily routine of more than 4 million ethnically and demographically diverse commuters.

The Challenge

As Chicago and suburban public transit agencies introduced the nation’s most advanced universal fare payment system, our team was there to ensure the customers’ transition journey was seamless and rider adoption was fast.

The Solution

Our team started by branding the system and rolling out card fulfillment across all platforms, managing communication needs for system launch, transition, post-launch and beyond. Throughout the transition, we quickly adapted to evolving rider needs and created timely and effective communications blanketing the city and targeting special populations. Attention-grabbing, educational information circulated in TV, radio, print and digital formats. Marketing collateral included how-to videos, retail point-of-sale and equipment re-skins for buses and trains.

We also planned and staffed dozens of community outreach events and provided in-station customer support until all Chicagoans were fully transitioned to the new system. Our team developed and managed Ventra’s social media channels to provide an educational outlet and trusted customer service platform for riders. We partnered with Ventra’s website developers to create a branded informational hub and e-commerce platform for CTA, Pace and Metra riders. In just four months, we helped the CTA achieve a 70% adoption rate – an average of more than a million fare-card taps a day. 

Purpose Brand also supported Ventra as it debuted new features and functionality such as the Ventra Card on Apple Wallet and Google Pay integration and Regional Connect Pass promotion. Our campaign drove thousands of virtual Ventra Card provisions and use on Apple and Google Pay within the first weeks of launch. The initial Regional Connect Pass sales surpassed sales of the legacy Link-Up pass.  


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