Last Sunday was supposed to be the CTA’s deadline to transition fully to Ventra, but the agency still continues to work out the kinks of its new fare payment system.
One of the longstanding problems is the amount of time it takes for a bus reader to process a Ventra tap. The CTA said this time has improved in the last month: 99.5 percent of all taps on buses from Nov. 19 through last Tuesday have been processed in 2.5 seconds or less, the agency’s goal, according to a progress report released Friday.
The CTA said it completed software upgrades on buses last Tuesday—just four days after about 3 percent of the bus fleet experienced intermittent Ventra reader outages during the evening rush hour. The CTA said it is still tabulating how many free rides were taken during this time.
The agency last month relaxed its switch to Ventra, nixing its Sunday full transition deadline, as it told Ventra vendor Cubic Transportation Systems to improve its customer service and equipment problems. No full transition date has been announced, so riders can continue to use Chicago Cards and magnetic disposable cards.
Ventra fares comprised 69 percent of total rides for the week ending Dec. 7, but there are still some holdouts of the new system. The agency recently emailed a survey to 40,000 Chicago Card Plus and Chicago Card users who were mailed Ventra cards but have not activated them.
The agency did not receive a lot of responses to the survey, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said, but of the feedback the agency did receive, the top reasons for not switching were that riders had not just gotten around to it or they didn’t receive a card. A “much smaller percentage” of riders did not transition because they experienced issues during the switch.
Riders having Ventra problems can attend one of four meetings this week. Though the sessions are intended for riders with disabilities and the elderly, any riders with Ventra questions are welcome to participate, Chase said. The schedule is posted on rtachicago.com.
The CTA is seeking artists to create works for the Damen, Western (O’Hare branch) and California stations, which are set to see upgrades. Submissions are due Jan. 6, to CTA Headquarters, 567 W. Lake St.
Holiday Train Tracker
The CTA Holiday Train will be on the Red Line on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; the Purple Line Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; and the Yellow Line on Monday. Go to transitchicago.com/holiday train for the full schedule.
A weekly dispatch from a CTA station of note
This week: Sheridan Red Line stop
The Lakeview stop was in the spotlight earlier this year when Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) asked for a commitment to repair the station during negotiations about Wrigley Field renovations. But nothing has changed for this station, which suffers from narrow platforms and lack of accessibility for riders with disabilities. Any potential upgrades are tied to the Red and Purple Modernization Project, a program that would upgrade northern Red and Purple Line tracks and stations. The project has been estimated to cost more than $4 billion. “There's been no progress so far,” CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said.
Next up: Kostner Pink Line
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