How do you transition more than 1 million daily riders to a new public transit fare payment system?

The Chicago area transit agencies launched an innovative new open fare payment system that utilizes contactless technology, allowing riders to simply ‘touch’ their card or phone to board trains and buses. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Pace Suburban Bus, in partnership with Cubic Transportation Systems, turned to Grisko to brand the new system and develop an introduction marketing campaign. And in the process, change the daily routine of more than 1 million ethnically and demographically diverse commuters.


Number of years Chicagoans relied on the old CTA system.


Number of different fare cards under the old CTA and Pace system.

35 million

Number of disposable magnetic stripe cards issued each year under the old system.

Ventra is here.

We built a brand, Ventra®, from the ground up, developing a logo and identity. Next, we partnered with CTA and Pace to conduct briefings with elected officials, community stakeholders and employees to provide education and rally support.

We supported the rollout with a targeted advertising and event marketing campaign that blanketed the city. The integrated campaign used a mix of traditional and new media including TV, radio, print, digital, in-system buses and trains, out of home, paid social, desktop and mobile integration and responsive web page design. We also initiated an ambassador program that included a wrapped bus touring the city to help riders get familiar with the new card and vending machines at train stations.

Moving people to change the way they pay for transit is no easy task, but Grisko helped us meet the challenge by creating a memorable brand with a simple, clear and consistent message that helped Chicago understand and adopt this next generation fare payment system. Matthew Cole, Exec. VP, Strategy & Business Development, Cubic Transportation Systems

Establishing a new way to pay.

In just four months, we introduced Ventra to Chicago and helped the CTA achieve a 70 percent adoption rate—an average of more than one million fare card taps a day.