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CTA Restores Magnetic Stripe Farecard Sales As Frustrations With Ventra Transition Mount

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 9, 2013 6:15PM

Photo credit: Chicagoist/Chuck Sudo
CTA President Forrest Claypool announced the agency would restore sales of magnetic stripe farecards at rail stations, as the transition to the open fare payment system Ventra continues to frustrate riders with wait times of up to an hour to activate their new cards over the phone. Claypool said the farecards will be available for “several weeks,” reversing a Monday directive ceasing sales of the cards as part of the transition.

Claypool added that CTA directed Cubic Transportation Systems, the contractor responsible for the transition to Ventra, to triple the number of operators at its call center to 300 workers instead of the 100 sugar and caffeine-fueled Capuchin monkeys we imagine are currently manning the system. This may also take “several weeks” yet Claypool remained confident Ventra would be fully implemented by Dec. 15.

Readers may remember back in February we wrote about how Money Network, the company behind Ventra, had an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. A publicist for Money Network contacted us to say the company actually had a "B" rating but the rash of complaints about Ventra's phone system has us wondering how they got that rating.

At least we still have the Chicago Ventra parody Twitter feed.