CTA cracks down on fraudulent use of free and reduced fare cards

The CTA is cracking down on fraudulent rides taken with free-ride and reduced-fare cards.

Since October 2014, the CTA has collected more than 1,800 free and reduced-fare cards during the card-verification efforts. It estimates that the lost potential annualized revenue from the fraudulent use of those cards at $2.8 million.

Last month is when the CTA began performing card-verification efforts at rail stations throughout the city and suburbs, verifying that individuals using any type of free or reduced-fare card were the cardholder listed on the face of the card.

Early in November I heard from a CTA Tattler reader who said he was immediately stopped at the Fullerton Red Line turnstile by a security guard. The guard took his U-Pass from his hand, claiming that they were doing U-Pass enforcement. They were doing this to everyone as they went through the turnstiles. The big thing that irked this reader was the bullying tactic by the security guard – who was not a police officer.

Meanwhile, in an audit of about 600,000 RTA free, reduced-fare and paratransit cards, the CTA found that slightly more than 1 percent were being used at a frequency far above the typical average for similar cards. The approximately 1 percent of cards CTA identified in the audit were used 10 or more times a day, at least twice in a 7-day period.

That kind of fraudulent use costs all of us legitimate riders. So I applaud the CTA for their action.

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  • Kudos to them. I hope they continue this program and catch lots of these people.

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    I hope that instead of just confiscating these cards they arrest the people for fraud. $2.8 million in fraudulent rides is nothing to sneeze at.

  • In reply to Wayne Driscoll:

    Some people said that the those "selling rides for $1" are quite prevalent in some neighborhoods, but the police would obviously have to catch them in the act.

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