Chicago’s CTA to launch new transit fare card – ride the rails and… rent a car?

The board of the Chicago Transit Authority last week approved a new partnership with I-GO, ironically enough – it’s a Chicago-based non-profit company that rents short-term, fuel-efficient cars by the hour to people who don’t own a car, but may need one temporarily. The idea is to create a combo fare card that allows you to use your pre-loaded fare money to also rent cars from I-GO.

Actually, it seems like a pretty good idea, in theory – it gives urban-dwellers an additional way to live without actually owning and driving their own car everywhere. According to the I-GO website, once you sign up, you can reserve a car by phone or online. There’s even a nifty Google Maps mashup of all the vehicle locations. To actually pick it up, just take your smart card, swipe it over a reader on the actual car, and then grab the keys out of the glove box. And then you are billed by the hour. Seems pretty simple.

Live in Chicago? Maybe you should consider ditching your car. Ride the CTA around, and if you really need a set of wheels, rent one for a few hours. It apparently takes 3-5 business days to register as a member – so I suppose it would take a bit more planning – but with some tweaking it sounds like the system would work quite well with the leisure traveler as well. Not a bad idea…

(Via Chicago Tribune)