Here's an update on the latest troubles and travails for the CTA Ventra card rollout.
We'll start with the photo I saw featured today on the Chicagoist One Shot feature.
The message here at the Logan Square Blue Line station is spelled out using magnetic stripe farecards.
Meanwhile, it seems the latest troubles with the Ventra rollout have played out for the transit benefit program users - no doubt since those approximately 50,000 CTA card users were among the last to be transitioned to Ventra.
The Tribune's Jon Hilkevitch reported last Friday that program administrators at some employers found employee info from other employers loaded into their Ventra transit benefits website.
And in his Monday Getting Around column, Hilkevitch noted double charges for $100 monthly passes. He also found, "after reading the fine print in the contract for the CTA Ventra transit benefit program, that it contains an extra cost — monthly "load fees'' — that could be handed down to consumers."
These problems come on top of the usual reports from riders of late or non-existent cards coming in the mail.
I lucked upon a great Ventra customer service rep last week who said she was proactively calling people using the transit benefit program who had not yet activated their cards. She helped me, then I gave her phone number to at least three other office mates.She got them going with Ventra too, though in two instances they had to buy cards since they hadn't yet come in the mail.
I'll be interested to see how long the CTA puts off the Nov. 15 deadline, when Chicago Cards could no longer be used, and mag stripe sales were to have stopped. I predict by Dec. 15 those restrictions will go into effect.
UPDATE: As Jack alluded to in a comment, Mayor Emanuel appeared with CTA President Forrest Claypool and Board Chair Terry Peterson at the 95th Street Red Line station Tuesday. The Trib reports the mayor "acknowledges frustration with Ventra." Good to know he's not living under a rock!
On Tuesday, the mayor declined to rank the Ventra difficulties in relation to the other crises his administration has encountered. Instead, Emanuel vented on the performance of Ventra contractor Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. and reiterated that he intends to hold the company accountable.
"As a user of it as recently as yesterday, I use it, I am frustrated that other people — that the company did not live up to their expectation," Emanuel said.