News pickup: CTA cuts absenteeism; new parking validation at Howard Red Line

Here are some news and notes from the CTA-osphere over the last few days.

CTA reduces absenteeism, but it still costs $30 million. The CTA has cut the cost of absenteeism by about $10 million, but it still vexes the transit agency's bottom line. And the rail workers union boss blames the problem on non-union workers. Read the Tribune story.

photo-1New parking validation procedures at Howard station. Effective Monday, CTA park-and-ride customers must validate their parking ticket to continue paying $5 a day. That's because the Standard Parking, the garage operator, has recently upgraded its parking payment equipment so it can begin to charge people based on how long they stay. The CTA has an agreement with Standard to continue to allow CTA customers to park all day for $5. The validation machine is located across from the turnstiles in the Paulina/bus terminal entrance of the Howard station.

Confusion reigns on Ventra rollout. Judging from questions on my posts the last two days, and from Twitter chatter, lots of people are still scratching their heads about how Ventra works. Sun-Times blogger Sam Kirkland notes that there are some good Ventra resources (the Q&A page and Common Misconceptions page at the CTA website and the FAQ at the dedicated Ventra website), but read the feed from a Twitter search of "Ventra" and you see the confusion - and unhappiness. Good thing the Ventra Twitter account is trying to answer questions.
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  • Here is one thing I've wondered:
    The CTA is issuing $3 disposable tickets at all train stations except O'Hare. Previous news articles have said that the O'Hare ticket will be $5. Now, we know that that the $3 tickets include the usual two transfers. Will the $5 ticket include transfers? If it does, then that makes the $5 ticket cheaper than using a Ventra card for anyone boarding at O'Hare that needs a transfer. And if not, how does a cash rider boarding at O'Hare get a transfer? Pay $10.25 for a Ventra card plus one fare plus 25 cents transfer?

  • In reply to Olaf1:

    No indication that it will be any different then than now. So stick a mag card into the O'Hare turnstile and see when getting off if you have any transfers. The current Fare Chart says two transfers and doesn't say "except O'Hare" like the $.2.25 rail fare does.

    The only thing I read into the O'Hare announcement is that because they are soaking those riders an extra $2.75, they won't be soaking them the $.75 surcharge on the paper Ventra ticket.

    The only announced fare change was that if you don't have a card (and the rapid transit supposedly never accepted cash) a Ventra paper ticket will be $3. Any other change, CTA would have had to hold a meaningless public hearing.

  • I tried clicking on the picture of the validation sign to see if I could read what it says and I get a "page not found" error.

  • In reply to Olaf1:

    Thanks for letting me know Olaf. I fixed that.

  • On absenteeism:
    1. It looks like the Tribune is going back to copying CTA Press Releases.

    2. As pointed out in Facebook comments on the Tribune, the article, and to some extent the Press Release, doesn't say what the standard should be. Obviously, being exposed to the public, drivers are subject to having diseases and assaults.

  • This little nugget on the Ventra card site still has me taking the wait and see posture:

    "Load Cash at Participating Reload Agent Locations (this fee may vary by reload network agent) Up to $4.95"

    Does not say initial purchase. Does not say refundable. Says "load cash".

    As with many things, the large print giveth and the small print taketh away.

  • In reply to Petrd1:

    That only refers to the prepaid debit card, the consensus being "don't activate it." That was discussed about 6 months ago.

  • This is the site link BTW http://www.ventrachicago.com/potential-fees/

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