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CTA to offer fare passes on Groupon

Updated: June 13, 2012 11:46AM

The Chicago Transit Authority announced Wednesday it will make $1.8 million in a first-of-its-kind deal to offer fare passes on Groupon, the Chicago-based daily deals website.

Groupon is paying the transit agency $1.882 million, or $7.53 apiece, up-front for 250,000 3-Day passes, which it will sell for $9, the CTA said.

The deal saves Groupon members $5 off the CTA’s current $14 price tag for the passes, and could be offered as soon as the end of June, CTA said. This is the first time the daily deals site has partnered with a transit agency to sell fares, according to the CTA.

“This innovative deal is exciting in many ways,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “It will generate nearly $2 million of immediate additional revenue for CTA, it will introduce and attract new potential customers to CTA, and is an innovative example of the government and business community working together to benefit the entire city.”

If the experiment is successful, the agreement allows Groupon and the CTA to offer another 250,000 passes for the same price within the next year, CTA said.

“This is a great way to unite two highly visible and respected brands,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool said. “This unique offer is an innovative way for the CTA to cultivate new, local customers and tourists in a way we’ve never done before. This is an innovative partnership, as this is the first time Groupon has partnered with a transit agency.”

Transit officials hope the deal will entice new local riders and reach summer tourists, as well as provide an immediate influx of capital, CTA said.

Groupon will advertise the deal on both the Chicago and travel deals sections of its website, CTA said. The company will own the fare cards until users purchase them, and customer information gleaned during the offering could help the CTA further encourage ridership, the agency said.

Riders will still be able to purchase 3-Day passes at their normal price at current sales locations.

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