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Free Rides For Federal Employees The Latest Ventra Fail

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 26, 2013 5:00PM

Photo credit: Stephanie Barto

CTA may be crowing about the performance metrics Ventra is meeting after the agency demanded better accountability from the shared fare payment system but there are still some ghosts in the machine.

The latest Ventra issue involves some federal employees being able to ride buses and trains for free simply by waving their federal employee identification cards past Ventra card readers. The Tribune spoke with Catherine Garypie, an Environmental Protection Agency employee, who discovered the glitch (or jackpot, depending on your viewpoint) last week when she inadvertently swiped her ID instead of her Ventra card and was allowed past the turnstiles.

Garypie informed her bosses and CTA of the issue. The EPA sent employees a memo informing them of the issue and a reminder that misusing federal credentials intentionally is bad ju-ju.” We can imagine some EPA employees feeling like Nick the bartender in It’s a Wonderful Life, handing out free rides like angels’ wings.

CTA said the problem would be fixed by Monday yet Garypie said Ventra card readers still recognized her ID and allowed her to pass as of Monday evening.

CTA spokesman Brian Steele told the Tribune Cubic Transportation Systems, the company responsible for managing Ventra, was “installing a system modification to mitigate the issue” and that CTA would be charging Cubic for the free rides allowed.