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November 21, 2011 | By Tracy Swartz, RedEye
CTA riders, don't get excited to tap that pass just yet. The CTA board last week awarded a $454 million contract to Cubic Transportation Systems to devise a system that would allow CTA riders to use their credit and debit cards to pay their fares. Though the system is not expected to be implemented until 2014, Going Public has ID'd a few potential drawbacks to the proposal, which is a swipe in the right direction. > > Dollar back, ya'll: Cash would still be accepted on buses under the proposed system.
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NEWS
May 26, 2014 | Tracy Swartz, @TracySwartz and Going Public
If you were given an unlimited-use Ventra card for free, how often would you ride the CTA? If you're CTA board chairman Terry Peterson, the answer would be 17 times in eight months. If you're veteran CTA board member Alejandro Silva, it would be five times. If you're longtime CTA board member Rev. Charles Robinson, it would be zero times. About half of the seven-member CTA board rode the system regularly from August to April, according to information Going Public obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request for the number of times CTA board members and officials used their CTA-issued...
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NEWS
October 4, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Monday is the first deadline for the CTA's transition to Ventra, its new fare payment system. Starting Monday, CTA riders will not be able to load money onto their Chicago Cards or buy disposable magnetic cards at rail stations. This is not a deadline for Chicago Card Plus users, though, whose cards will continue to autoload until Nov. 14, the last day that Chicago Card Plus can be used on CTA. The CTA said it has finished mailing Ventra cards to Chicago Card Plus users and riders with registered Chicago Cards who have verified their information.
NEWS
April 27, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
For three years, Brittney Lane has been in a relationship that works. The Logan Square resident said she has never felt disappointed or frustrated, since her significant other is drama-free and dependable. (For the record, her boyfriend disapproves of this union.) No matter, because Lane is headed for a breakup. Next month, she has to part with her beloved Chicago Card Plus. "I've had no problems at all with my Chicago Card," said Lane, 25. "I am very attached to it I guess -- as much as a person can be attached to their transit card.
NEWS
October 9, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Good news, CTA riders, you can stop worrying about hurrying to transition to Ventra, the CTA's new fare payment system. The CTA'a announcement Wednesday that it has brought back options for users of the old fare card system has bought you some time. CTA President Forrest Claypool said Ventra is tripling its customer service call center to 300 workers but that may take "several weeks" because the employees have to be trained. Riders should give the CTA some time to do that before switching to Ventra.
NEWS
January 14, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The beginning of the Blue Line saw the beginning of a fare increase Monday. Riders who load up their card with cash saw the price of their Blue Line ride from O'Hare jump from $2.25 to $5 as part of CTA fare hikes that took effect Monday. Riders with daily, weekly or monthly unlimited ride passes didn't and won't pay the increase. Chicago Card users who pay per ride will not see the increase until this summer as the CTA works with O'Hare employees to encourage them to buy unlimited passes so they won't pay $5...
NEWS
January 15, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz
The beginning of the Blue Line saw the beginning of a fare increase Monday. Riders who load up their card with cash saw the price of their Blue Line ride from O'Hare jump from $2.25 to $5 as part of CTA fare hikes that took effect Monday. The increase does not apply to riders with daily, weekly or monthly unlimited ride passes. Chicago Card users who pay per ride will not see the increase until this summer. In the meantime, the CTA is working with O'Hare employees to encourage them to buy unlimited passes so they won't pay $5 fares every time...
NEWS
September 11, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The CTA will finish mailing all Ventra cards by the end of next week to Chicago Card users who have verified their mailing addresses, the agency said Wednesday. Some Chicago Card users have been complaining on social media that they have not received their cards yet despite filling out the pertinent information. Ventra, the CTA's new fare payment system, became available to all CTA and Pace riders on Monday. The CTA said more than 375,000 Ventra cards have been distributed.
NEWS
October 9, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
As the CTA continues to work through Ventra glitches, RedEye rounded up the top five Ventra vents. > > I never received my card This could be a blessing in disguise. The CTA said it finished mailing cards last week to Chicago Card users who verified their addresses. The agency said it determined that some riders provided incomplete information, and the CTA was working with those riders. > > I got my card in the mail but no e-mail about user name The CTA said it is sending 110,000 e-mails to Chicago Card users with information for card activation.
NEWS
January 14, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Brown Line riders, you've been treated. The CTA is set to finish replacing rotting wood this month on the platforms at 13 Brown Line stations with wood that has been weather-treated. The agency is wrapping up work at the last station on the list, the Southport stop in Lakeview. The CTA is spending nearly $6 million replacing the wood that was used to renovate 13 of 18 stations in the yearslong $530 million Brown Line Capacity Expansion project that ended in 2009, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said.
NEWS
November 18, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Do pregnant women deserve priority seats on the CTA? CTA rider Erin Fowler says they do. She told the CTA board at last week's meeting the CTA should announce that riders should give up their seats to pregnant women. She suggested expectant mothers wear buttons so other riders will know to yield their seats. "Get on the PA system and say we have an expectant mother, someone please offer their seat," Fowler said. Federal law requires the CTA to designate priority seats for the elderly and riders with disabilities.
NEWS
November 11, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Fed up with the multiple taps it took for his Ventra card to work, Michael Askew turned his problematic taps into a problem app. Askew, 35, this month created an app for iPhones called “Ventra Fails.” CTA riders can record when and where their Ventra cards fail. The CTA announced last week it is slowing its transition to Ventra, a new fare payment system, while system operator Cubic works out glitches that have ranged from long customer service waits to delayed mailings of cards to slow processing time once a Ventra card has been tapped.
NEWS
November 4, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Farewell, Chicago Cards. For nearly a decade, those blue and yellow plastic squares have been the way thousands of CTA riders have paid their fares. They were not always reliable - some were known to fall apart after normal wear and tear - but you didn't have to take them out of your wallet to tap, as you have to do now with Ventra. And soon, they will be extinct. Ventra, the CTA's new fare payment system, is replacing Chicago Cards Nov. 15. But what to do with your defunct Chicago Card?
NEWS
October 11, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Before some Chicago Marathon runners make it to the start line, they'll have to navigate the CTA line. Long lines for fare cards greeted travelers to O'Hare Friday morning as the CTA continued its transition to Ventra, its new fare payment system. Two days before the Chicago Marathon, which attracted 45,000 runners and an estimated 1.7 million spectators last year, is typically one of the O'Hare Blue Line station's busiest days of the year. At one point Friday morning, RedEye counted 106 people in line for seven fare card...
NEWS
October 9, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
As the CTA continues to work through Ventra glitches, RedEye rounded up the top five Ventra vents. > > I never received my card This could be a blessing in disguise. The CTA said it finished mailing cards last week to Chicago Card users who verified their addresses. The agency said it determined that some riders provided incomplete information, and the CTA was working with those riders. > > I got my card in the mail but no e-mail about user name The CTA said it is sending 110,000 e-mails to Chicago Card users with information for card activation.
NEWS
October 9, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The CTA will allow Chicago Card riders to add money to their cards and will sell disposable cards in rail stations for "several weeks," reversing a Monday deadline that ceased those operations, CTA president Forrest Claypool said Wednesday. The CTA is also sending 110,000 transition e-mails to Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus users, some of whom said they didn't receive these e-mails and said they had difficulty transitioning to Ventra, CTA's new fare payment system. The CTA is also directing Cubic, the Ventra contractor,...
NEWS
April 1, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Here's the gist of Monday's state hearing about CTA's Ventra system: The public transit agency is not doing a good job of educating the public about the details of its new fare collection method, which is scheduled to roll out within months. The CTA said it plans to launch this month an extensive outreach campaign about transitioning to Ventra, which may start as early as "early this summer," CTA President Forrest Claypool said at Monday's hearing, which was attended by CTA, Metra and Pace officials.
NEWS
September 9, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Ventra, the CTA's new fare payment system, became available to all CTA and Pace riders on Monday, but some riders complained they didn't get carded. Dozens of riders grumbled on Twitter and Facebook that they had not received their Ventra cards in the mail despite responding to at least one CTA email to confirm their addresses. The CTA said there were 100,000 Ventra cards in use as of Friday, with more than 30,000 cards in the mail. About 15,000 Ventra cards are being mailed out each day, the CTA said.
NEWS
October 9, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Good news, CTA riders, you can stop worrying about hurrying to transition to Ventra, the CTA's new fare payment system. The CTA'a announcement Wednesday that it has brought back options for users of the old fare card system has bought you some time. CTA President Forrest Claypool said Ventra is tripling its customer service call center to 300 workers but that may take "several weeks" because the employees have to be trained. Riders should give the CTA some time to do that before switching to Ventra.
NEWS
October 4, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Monday is the first deadline for the CTA's transition to Ventra, its new fare payment system. Starting Monday, CTA riders will not be able to load money onto their Chicago Cards or buy disposable magnetic cards at rail stations. This is not a deadline for Chicago Card Plus users, though, whose cards will continue to autoload until Nov. 14, the last day that Chicago Card Plus can be used on CTA. The CTA said it has finished mailing Ventra cards to Chicago Card Plus users and riders with registered Chicago Cards who have verified their...
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