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CTA And Company Behind Ventra Hit With Lawsuit

By Jon Graef in News on Oct 12, 2013 4:00PM

A Ventra card holder tries to add cash to his card at the Halsted Street Orange Line station, Aug. 29, 2013. (Photo credit: Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist)

A public transit rider filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Transportation Authority and Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc., the company behind the smooth operating open fare system Ventra, alleging overcharges on his card and is seeking class action status for his lawsuit.

Plaintiff James Kenger, the disgruntled patron behind the suit, alleges he was charged twice for a single fare. Kenger says he incurred $8.50 in just over a minute. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Chicago U.S. District Court.

The Tribune kindly sets the scene:

According to the suit, on Sept. 24 Kenger was charged twice for a single fare under the new Ventra system. Two days later, Kenger was charged $8.50 within 1 minute and 10 seconds, the suit states. The charges were labeled "CTA Customer Call Center."

"He basically got a bunch of charges that did not appear to be authorized and did not represent actual use by him," Kenger's attorney, Daniel Edelman, said.

The CTA said the charges to Kenger's account are legitimate.

"Based on a preliminary review, we believe all of the transactions in this customer's account are transit rides and reloading his account," CTA spokesman Brian Steele wrote in an email.

Steele went on to tell the Tribune that Cubic mistakenly labeled fare paid with Chicago Cards as customer service phone calls--calls which were originally going to incur a $2 fee, until the plan was dropped along with all other customer service charges.

Steel said Kenger may have used Chicago Card Plus for transit rides, thus incurring the additional fees since the Chicago Card still works even with an activated Ventra card. Kenger, though, said he cut up his Chicago Card Plus after receiving his Ventra card.

The truly shocking thing is that Kenger actually received a Ventra card in a timely fashion.

Kenger told ABC Chicago, "This is a service thing, It isn't going to be stopped unless somebody steps looked like the beta testing is being done on the public."

We question whether a lawsuit will really help, but we're also glad to see someone not taking the Ventra clusterfuck lying down. Perhaps Ventra can change one of its ubiquitous billboards to read, "Ventra: Litigation is Here."