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CTA customer service phone line is a real missed connection

September 16, 2013|By Tracy Swartz @tracyswartz | RedEye

Talk about missed connections.

CTA riders who think they wait too long for buses and trains should try calling the customer-service number for Ventra, the CTA’s new fare payment system.

Going Public called the Ventra hotline, 877-669-8368, three times Monday and waited on hold the first time for 19 minutes before the call disconnected. The second time was a six-minute wait before disconnection. The third time, the call went through—after a 17-minute wait.

CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said the Ventra hotline on Monday saw "an unusually high call volume" from more riders getting their Ventra cards. She said wait times were about 11 minutes.

As more CTA riders start receiving their cards, more questions about how to use the fare system have arisen. The CTA said it will mail out the rest of the Ventra cards this week to Chicago Card users who have verified their mailing addresses.

In the meantime, if riders have a question about the fare card, calling may not be the best route.

Riders can tweet @VentraChicago with questions and comments. The CTA does not man this Twitter feed, though. That social media account is run by Grisko, a Chicago marketing firm that’s a subcontractor of Ventra service provider Cubic Transportation Systems. Also, there is a contact form at ventrachicago.com.

If a rider would prefer talking to someone face-to-face, the CTA this week begins its fare balance transfer events. Riders can bring a pay-per-use disposable, magnetic stripe card or Chicago Card—but not if they are unlimited passes—and have their fares transferred to a Ventra card for free.

The first transfer event is from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in Gage Park, 2411 W. 55th St.

Wished connection
A reader wanted to give a shoutout to the “tall guy in the gray HP polo” at the Quincy stop Thursday at 5:35 p.m. She said the man asked out a rider, who turned him down “in a rude way.” “Any girl without a boyfriend would have taken you up on that offer 99 out of 100 times!,” she said.

Tracy’s Bus Ride
GP this week will ride the No. 111A Pullman shuttle to continue her streak of taking every CTA bus from start to finish.

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