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Chicago Car Sharing and Public Transportation

Travelers to Chicago, lovers of public transportation, , the lazy and the carless will love the new deal on offer from the Chicago Transit Authority, which combines the Chicago Card Plus with I-GO car-sharing to make your transportation worries a thing of the past. Chicago has a pretty decent public transportation system, but now you should be able to get anywhere without a fuss. What a deal! I’m betting other cities will follow suit, which is great for everyone.

There are 10 I-GO rental car facilities, conveniently located near L stations and bus terminals in the city, as well as in Evanston and Oak Park, with plans to open 8 more. With this program, Chicago Card Plus holders will be able to access the I-GO cars using their snazzy smart card.

If you’re interested, you have to register for a Chicago Card Plus and an I-GO membership. You will receive a card that will let you ride the CTA and unlock your reserved I-GO vehicle.

I-GO is the car sharing part of the equation. If you aren’t familiar with such entities, car share programs are like car rental companies that rent for small amounts of time, don’t have offices and include gas and insurance in the rental price. You can rent a car for an hour to run an errand. The I-GO membership fee is $75 for the first year. Rental fees range from $6 to $10 an hour, which include gas and insurance.

Chicago Card Plus, the public transportation part of the deal, is a like a credit card for public transportation. You keep a balance in your online account, thus avoiding ticket lines at the train stop. Fare transactions are charged to the account each time a Chicago Card Plus is touched to the touchpad on any CTA or Pace fare equipment. You can use your Chicago Card Plus to pay a full fare or transfer at any rail station or on any CTA and Pace bus.

“CTA has worked to provide convenient connections for customers who ride our buses and trains,” said CTA President Ron Huberman. “This smart card will make it even easier to make the transition from one mode of transportation to the other.”

The CTA plans on the card being available by the end of 2008.

Via Upgrade: Travel Better