But daily deal site Groupon saw some value in the tickets, purchasing 250,000 of them at a price tag of almost $2 million.
The final price tag for the 250,000 passes was $1,882,000, working out to $7.53 for each pass. The CTA will keep all that money.
Groupon also has the option to purchase an additional 250,000 at the same price within a year.
The three days passes are designed to attract tourists and those who don’t regularly use the L to give it a try. Perhaps Groupon believes they can reach that audience better than the CTA can.
Groupon now owns the passes and plans to offer them to their customers for $9, a five-dollar discount from the usual price of $14.
CTA and City Hall officials said the deal is the first time Chicago-based Groupon and a U.S. transit agency have worked a deal to sell fare media.
Regardless the ball is now in Groupon’s court. The CTA has bought out; selling off over a third of all the three-day passes they sold last year.
“You know, we’ll find out. … The risk shifts to Groupon immediately,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.