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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.
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NEWS
May 20, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Nine in 10 CTA rides are paid for with Ventra cards, the CTA said today, as the agency moves to eliminate use of Chicago Cards in less than two weeks. On June 1, riders will no longer be allowed to use their Chicago Cards or load money onto disposable fare cards as the CTA prepares to fully transition to Ventra in July. The agency stopped letting riders reload their Chicago Cards and buy disposable cards on May 1. In the past two weeks, a few holdouts have switched over to Ventra.
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NEWS
October 7, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Turns out, the waiting is not the hardest part. Some Chicago Card users said they finally received their Ventra cards in the mail but had difficulty activating and then registering their cards online because they never received Ventra emails telling them their usernames and passwords. Sarah McClain, 30, of Lakeview, said she received her Ventra card last week. She said she was able to activate the card but not register it because she didn't receive the Ventra email. Megan Brady, 32, of Old Irving Park, was in a similar situation.
NEWS
May 14, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
How satisfied are CTA riders with their commute? The CTA is trying to answer that question by surveying nearly 84,000 riders this spring. Last week, the CTA started emailing a 44-question survey about ridership habits and service amenities to about 80,000 riders, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. The agency said it will hand out nearly 4,000 of these surveys at bus stops and train stations in June. The CTA asks participants how often they ride the CTA and why, and whether they are satisfied with employee performance, personal safety and bus/train cleanliness, among other questions.
NEWS
October 4, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Starting Monday, Chicago Card users can not load money onto their card while disposable card users cannot buy these cards at rail stations. This deadline, the first in the transition to the CTA's new fare payment system Ventra, does not affect Chicago Card Plus users, who can still autoload their card with value until Nov. 15. Here are some tips to navigate you through the transition Monday. > > Expect longer lines at rail stations. The CTA has replaced the Chicago Card and unlimited pass vending machines with Ventra machines, which may prompt confusion.
NEWS
December 16, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
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.
NEWS
September 24, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
To celebrate its new location at the Belmont Brown and Red Line station, Dunkin' Donuts is offering a 10 percent discount for items purchased Tuesday only at that location if customers show a Ventra card. Ventra is the CTA's new fare payment system that became available to the public Sept. 9. Chicago Public Schools and university students and CTA employees were the first to get the cards. The CTA said last week it has finished mailing cards to riders who have a Chicago Card Plus and filled out appropriate paperwork.
NEWS
October 22, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and For RedEye
The CTA last week began calling Chicago Card users reminding them about the transition to Ventra, the CTA's new fare payment system. Customer service representatives have been calling Chicago Card Plus and registered Chicago Card users who have been sent activation information but have not yet activated their Ventra cards. "If they need help with activation, they'll be provided guidance on how to activate their card," CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said in an e-mail. "If they need help retrieving their username, they'll get help with...
NEWS
October 2, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
As the CTA prepares to fully transition to Ventra, some companies are slow to adopt the controversial new fare system. Walgreens, which sells CTA cards, is not currently selling Ventra cards at any of its stores. "We anticipate installing the necessary equipment in our stores in the next few weeks," Walgreens spokesman Jim Graham said in an e-mail. "I don't have more specific information at this time. " In a press release last month, the CTA said Walgreens will begin offering Ventra cards at 159 locations "shortly after the September...
NEWS
August 26, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
It wasn't exactly love at first swipe, but my new Ventra fare card worked well enough for its first week of use. Last week, I tapped the card on buses and trains and at main and auxiliary station entrances. I kept it in my hand and left it in my clutch as I swiped it. I used a vending machine to load it and ventrachicago.com to register it. Overall, the card worked without incident when the fare readers were functioning - but that wasn't always the case. Of the more than a dozen buses I rode last week, three fare readers on three different...
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
April 2, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
CTA riders enrolled in a pre-tax transit program who haven't switched to Ventra must transition by Friday, the CTA said Wednesday. Starting Friday, Chicago Card Plus users who pay for transit using pre-tax funds through their employee benefits will have to use their Ventra cards to access these funds. These programs allow riders to pay for their commute using pre-tax income. "While most employees have made the switch to the modern, account-based fare payment system, the CTA wants to remind the small number of employees still...
NEWS
January 20, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz and RedEye
After riding the No. 22 Clark bus last month, TJ Holly of Rogers Park noticed his pocket was a little lighter. Thankfully, his wallet was still there - but his Ventra card was gone. He logged onto ventrachicago.com Dec. 15 to report his card missing and request a replacement card. And then he waited. And waited some more. In the meantime, he walked instead of riding the bus. Then he bought a new card from a Ventra vending machine. His replacement card never came in the mail, though Ventra says normal delivery of replacement cards is...
NEWS
January 19, 2014 | Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
It's time for change, Chicago. Or rather, it's time for Ventra. Change, tokens, magnetic stripe cards, Chicago Cards - the CTA's been there, done that over the past 50 years. Now Ventra is set to completely replace magnetic stripe and Chicago Cards likely sometime soon (though cash still will be accepted on buses). Fare payment system changes are rare, and the transition to Ventra hasn't been smooth. Ventra was supposed to replace Chicago Cards and magnetic stripe cards last year, but the CTA relaxed those deadlines so glitches could be fixed.
NEWS
January 13, 2014 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
Perhaps it's time to set up a red carpet outside CTA buses. Sometimes it seems like the amount of time it takes to tap your Ventra card to board a bus is equal to the time it takes to flash your ID to get into a club. The CTA, though, says split-second boarding is the norm. Recent data shows that about 60 percent of the time, Ventra taps on buses were processed in 0.5 seconds or less, but about 35 percent of the time, bus taps were accepted in 1.1 to 2.5 seconds. Less often, bus taps were processed in 0.6 to 1 second (about 3.5...
NEWS
January 7, 2014 | By Mick Swasko, @swasko and RedEye
It's over. The city is celebrating positive Fahrenheit temperatures with more excitement than if the CTA had announced it was dropping those pesky Ventra cards. The Polar Vortex, #ChiBeria, the weather that gave the entire Chicagoland area an excuse to claim hard liquor as a substitute for water because the pipes were all frozen, is gone. Work was done at home. Approximately 73,923 Instagrams of frost ON THE INSIDE OF THE WINDOWS, YOU GUYS were shared. Idiots burned themselves throwing boiling water out their backdoors and...
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
September 3, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz and RedEye
The CTA today logged its 1 millionth Ventra card tap as it continues to usher in its new fare payment system. The CTA began officially using the system last month and it is now available to Chicago area university students, Chicago Public Schools students, CTA employees and some Chicago Card Plus users. All CTA and Pace riders will be able to use Ventra on Sept. 9. "With just six days until Ventra is fully available to all CTA and Pace customers, hitting the 1-million mark underscores how quickly customers are taking to the new Ventra...
NEWS
December 31, 2013 | By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz
The CTA wants you to know where to tap that pass. The agency announced Tuesday it is outfitting more than 2,600 bus and rail readers with decals denoting where to tap their Ventra cards. The decals feature a card picture with a yellow circle. The CTA this fall placed green stickers on Ventra readers to help show riders where to tap. The new decals will be in place by Jan. 6, the CTA said. Meanwhile, the CTA said it is repositioning bus readers to directly face riders to improve boarding speed.
NEWS
December 31, 2013 | By Kristin Samuelson and Tracy Swartz and RedEye
"Welcome aboard, nice to see you. " "Wrigley. Cubs. All aboard. Batter up. " "Have a good day, and may the force be with you. " They're friendly and familiar phrases you've most likely heard if you've ever ridden the Red Line during commuter hours. The welcoming voice was from Michael Powell, a CTA train operator who today announced he is retiring after nearly 36 years with the CTA. CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski confirmed that Powell's retirement is effective today, Dec. 31. As he pulled into the Howard...
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