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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.
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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
October 3, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Chantal Sudbrack moved from Chicago to Cleveland four years ago and now only visits this city to see her family four to five times a year. The next time she comes to Chicago, she'll have a variety of ways to pay for transit. This past weekend, she received 274 Ventra cards in the mail to her Cleveland address. "My postman has been laughing," said Sudbrack, who said she has held onto her Chicago Card for her Chicago visits and verified her address to Ventra. Sudbrack, 38, is one of a few people who told RedEye they received dozens of Ventra cards after receiving multiple emails from Ventra, the CTA's new fare payment system, the weekend of Sept.
NEWS
September 30, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, RedEye
One negative about the new CTA fare payment system: negative balances on Ventra cards. Some CTA riders have complained to Ventra they have garnered negative balances on their cards despite having money on the card or an unlimited pass. Reader Mallory Rush told Going Public she had an active seven-day unlimited pass but received a negative balance after a bus ride. Another rider tweeted, "Wondering how I keep ending up negative on my Ventra card when I only use unlimited passes not cash.
NEWS
September 27, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
More than 500,000 CTA riders have registered Ventra cards, the CTA said Friday, as a November deadline looms for Chicago Card riders to make the switch. The CTA said it finished mailing out Ventra cards last week to Chicago Card Plus riders who verified mailing addresses. The agency this week was mailing cards to 50,000 registered Chicago Card riders. It's supposed to take seven to 10 business days for riders to receive the card. Ventra became available to all riders Sept. 9. The agency said Ventra taps last week made up 22 percent of all CTA and Pace rides.
NEWS
September 16, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
CTA riders trying to use their personal debit and credit cards as fare cards won't be able to register their cards until sometime this fall, the agency said Monday. That means these riders can't manage their accounts online and need to stay vigilant about their balances so they're not charged full fares instead of getting transfer prices. Unlike Chicago Card Plus, the transit balances on personal bank cards will not replenish when riders spend down the balances. "We're still in the process of transitioning over to Ventra," CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said in an e-mail.
NEWS
September 6, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The CTA said Friday it is working to resolve a glitch that won't allow riders to enter rail stations through some auxiliary entrances after they've tapped their Ventra cards. CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said the "very limited number" of issues with some of the 64 high-barrier gates stems from the CTA running two fare collection methods -- Ventra and its current systems -- simultaneously. All CTA riders will be able to use Ventra starting Monday. The CTA is phasing out its other fare collection systems by the end of the year.
NEWS
September 2, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Every week this summer, CTA riders have been sounding off to Going Public: What the bleep is up with the beeping at some CTA bus shelters? One Edgewater resident wrote last week, "What is this terrible annoyance? Is someone going to fix it? If you want to seek covered shelter, you have to be subjected to this piercing noise. It's driving me crazy. " The CTA said it finished installing audio components in 258 bus shelters that have digital Bus Tracker signs last month. The sound, which the agency describes as similar to a hospital heart-rate monitor, is emitted every 2 to 2 1/2 seconds to allow visually impaired riders to identify the location of the audio button on the shelter to hear the estimated bus arrival times, the CTA said.
NEWS
July 8, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
No pressure, CTA riders, but storms are in the forecast Tuesday and Wednesday. Rain tends to put a damper on commuting, so here are some dews and don'ts of riding out storms on the CTA. Dew ... > > Realize fancy footwear is a mistake. Two words: Commuting shoes. Don't make your trip a feat because you're wearing wedges. > > Take caution when traveling up and down rail station staircases, which may be slippery. Note puddles and point them out to customer service agents at the station or contact the CTA at transitchicago.com/contact.
NEWS
June 24, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, RedEye and RedEye
Two CTA bus drivers were attacked last week, reportedly by CTA riders, but the CTA says it has seen fewer incidences of violence against its employees than it did last year. The CTA said it has recorded 11 incidents against CTA employees so far this year. There were 26 last year. "Obviously we'd like the number to be zero. Fortunately, those numbers aren't very high when you think about the volumes of buses and drivers we put out each day," CTA spokesman Brian Steele said. "Two in a week is definitely out of the ordinary.
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