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CTA, Pace Ready To Renew The Long Ventra March

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 10, 2014 9:30PM

Photo credit: Deborah McCoy/Facebook

The march to a single fare payment system on Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains and Pace Suburban buses may soon be renewed, with an announcement expected from the two transit agencies by the end of the month.

CTA spokesman Brian Steele told the Tribune “some final details were being worked out” before the official announcement but if all goes well we’ll all be suffering with Ventra cards together right in time for summer.

Per Hilkevitch:

First, riders will no longer be able to reload value onto the old fare cards, then the sale of magnetic stripe cards will be halted, and lastly, none of the old-style cards will be accepted on buses or trains, the CTA said. A deadline for transferring remaining value from the old cards to Ventra cards will also be set.

Those final details Steele said are being worked out include setting up informational events across the city and a establishing a mail-in program so customers can transfer their outstanding balances on their magnetic stripe and Chicago Card/Chicago Card Plus farecards to Ventra cards.

Ventra is now being used in 80 percent of all fare payments on CTA buses and trains but there are still some issues with the farecard readers not recognizing farecards. Then there are the bus drivers who after months of dealing with the #VentraFails seem to be over it and have resorted to giving riders stinkeyes and shouts of “You’re holding up the line” instead of the forced patience they exhibited during the original transition.

CTA released a new “Excessive Mobile Validator Touching” bulletin to drivers and rail station employees instructing them to assist riders whenever a Ventra card isn’t recognized by a reader. This is as good a time as any to let you all know not to immediately re-tap your Ventra card to the reader if it isn’t initially recognized. It takes time to reset before you can retry.

Cubic Transportation Systems, which manages Ventra, is also hopping onboard the kinder, gentler Ventra. There will be new notices on the card readers instead of the accusatory “Stop!” whenever a Ventra card isn’t recognized. Instead they’ll read "Please touch again — Card not read"; "Stop — Insufficient fare," referring to not enough value on the account; and "Stop — Card/ticket expired,'' if a Ventra card is invalid.

Steele said three bus drivers have been reprimanded for not assisting riders.