CTA and Ventra Crap on Chicago's Mass Transit Riders

As Chicago goes spiraling down the rabbit hole into the nightmare "new and improved" Ventra; it feels like CTA and Ventra crap on Chicago's mass transit riders. What sort of pigeon-brained idiot thought this was a good idea?

Does the expression "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" not resonate with those in suits or are they wearing those ties too bloody tight to notice that they too are fallible humans? The Chicago Card Plus had been easy to use, faster to read electronically and didn't charge me twice for a ride.

But given that money is to be made in changing things, it was too good to continue. Just look at the reported $454 million that Jon Hilkevitch reports askCubic are to be paid for their debacle. Nice work if you can get it.

No Virginia, or Amanda B. of Ventra--with whom I had a very confusing conversation only a few minutes ago, this isn't the beginning of my Ventra rant. Sadly it is only the next episode in what has become a never ending saga (and one I'm thoroughly bored by).

I keep hoping it's like one of those old Dallas episodes I read about in the big shoulders/big hair years of the 1980s, only a dream.

The latest thorn in the mass transit riders side was the Jon Hilkevitch's report on October 28th about the card double dinging passengers for rides. Going to check my account, I found that yes, my history showed just this. Three times in less than 3 weeks of riding. Well, duh. Somebody has to pay the $454 million for this screwy and not-so-improved service.

Carefully noting the dates and times, I emailed CTA, Reporter Hilkevitch to confirm I'd found the same issue and for good measure, that arbiter of the ignored consumer, the Better Business Bureau; plus a letter to Mr. Claypool, President of CTA. Maybe he doesn't know how bad it is out in the trenches?

Very soon after I received an email from Tammy Chase, Director of Communications and Media Relations. Responding that yes, I'd contacted the list above about the issue, suddenly my cell phone exploded with ringing.

There was a southern accented Amanda B. asking to speak to me. Well that was certainly easier than The Husband's attempted call to Ventra this morning when he got a constant busy signal. Amanda B. asked me to look at my account online, which I did. Then she began to tell a tale of adding up my trips and how many payments, and how much this and how much that and--well after she'd "explained" to me twice how they didn't owe me anything, I tuned out. Maybe it was the accent.

HUSBAND! I begged, help, help.

He did help. He is good like that.

Long story, short, and it was a long story--it seems that my "Current Transit Balance" isn't the same as Ventra's customer service's version of my "Current Transit Balance". Yes, you read that right. My screen and theirs do not agree. Akin to finding that your ATM account balance isn't what your bank balance shows it is. Good luck with that. Especially if you have Ventra as an ATM too, oye veh.

Amanda B. gave The Husband a long explanation about adding "your wife's" trips and blah-blah-blah, and how my balance was actually right despite the "Transaction Types" that show I used the card to pay for one trip twice. I still am zoning on Orwellian verbiage spoken with a southern accent.

I think I saw this act last week in NYC in Times Square. It's called Three Card Monte.

And the mark always loses.


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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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