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News / City Life

Chicago’s new municipal ID card will also serve as Ventra, library card

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When Chicago introduces its new municipal identification card program (targeted to launch before the end of the year), the cards will do at least triple duty. The Sun-Times reported Wednesday that the board of the Chicago Transportation Authority approved plans for the municipal ID to also serve as the holder’s Ventra card for paying CTA fares. The ID will also serve as a Chicago Public Library card. The card would be the first of its kind in the nation to incorporate public transportation access, City Clerk Anna Valencia told the Sun-Times.

The ID program is aimed in part at populations for whom obtaining a driver’s license or state ID might be a hardship, including the elderly, homeless and immigrants. In keeping with the Chicago’s commitment to sanctuary city status, the city won’t ask applicants about their immigration status and won’t retain any of the personal information supplied when applying for the ID, other than name and date of birth. No home address is required, and applicants will designate their own gender identity.

Future benefits tied to the new card are likely to be designed to increase its appeal beyond vulnerable populations. New York City’s IDNYC card, for instance, is recognized by city agencies, NYPD, schools, employers and a number of banks and credit unions, but it also offers deals or discounts for a wide range of other services in the city, including prescription drug discounts, savings on Citi Bike memberships and free one-year memberships to more than 35 museums and other cultural institutions.

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