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NEWS
September 16, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz @tracyswartz and 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.
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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 machines at O'Hare International Airport.
NEWS
June 5, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Listen up, riders. The CTA wants you to know that soon it will be switching to Ventra, its new fare payment system that the agency plans to roll out this summer. The CTA this week began audio announcements on all its buses about Ventra. There are two versions of the announcements, which run every 25 to 30 minutes. "They're basically educational recordings letting people know to visit ventrachicago.com," CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis said. "It's just kind of an awareness campaign right now. " The CTA has not yet announced a start date for Ventra except to say that it is coming this summer.
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
September 13, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
South Loop resident Dylan Oakes, 20, said he was surprised this week when he tapped his wallet against the Ventra card reader and was charged $5 for his CTA ride since he has a prepaid university pass through Columbia College. Instead of reading his U-Pass Ventra card, though, the Ventra reader pulled from his contactless Chase card in his wallet--a frustration that some Ventra users have shared on social media. The CTA said it aware of the complaints and is asking its riders to take Ventra cards out of their wallets and purses so unregistered debit cards are not accidentally charged.
NEWS
February 27, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
A single rail ride could cost $3 if the rider pays with cash when the CTA unveils its new open fare payment system Ventra this summer. The CTA is proposing a 50-cent "limited use media fee" for disposable single ride tickets. The $3 would cover $2.25 rail fare, a 25-cent transfer and the 50-cent fee, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. Riders would pay the 25-cent transfer fee whether they make a connection or not. Starting this summer, riders will be able to use their debit/credit cards, a Ventra card, disposable unlimited passes or single-ride passes to pay for their rail trips.
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
June 18, 2012 | By Tracy Swartz, RedEye
CTA riders, it's time to replace those Chicago Cards with new passes—but just for a few days. The CTA announced last week it is partnering with Chicago daily deal site Groupon to offer discounted three-day unlimited travel passes—typically $14—for $9. The deal should be available later this month, the CTA said. CTA president Forrest Claypool said he hopes the deal, which will generate nearly $2 million for the agency, will encourage visitors and infrequent riders to explore the city using trains and buses.
NEWS
June 10, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Gov. Quinn last week picked a longtime politico to sit on the CTA's board--and he doesn't live anywhere near a CTA stop. Quinn nominated Frank Zuccarelli, a 20-year supervisor of Thornton Township in south Cook County, to replace John Bouman, who is leaving the board after nearly four years. Zuccarelli, who resides in South Holland, did not return a request for comment. At least one of the members of the seven-member CTA board has to live outside Chicago city limits, according to state law. But every board member should have easy access to the CTA. The CTA board meets once a month to vote on important rider matters that range from fare hikes to bus service changes.
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