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Ventra Card Complaints

By: Kelly Tansor, Copy Editor  (ktanso2@uic.edu)

By now almost everyone has been introduced to the new Ventra Card system.  The card can be used on both CTA and Pace, which is great for commuters like myself who have to use both to get to school.  It is harder to lose a plastic card than a flimsy paper one.  However, in this case it does not seem like the benefits can outweigh the negatives.  Commuters are getting fed up with the Ventra system’s several glitches and are striking back in what the Huffington Post calls Ventrage.

One complaint I have come across the most has to do with using the card.  The system asks for you to tap the card on the console, but many commuters have to do this 3-4 times before it works.  Some commuters get fed up with it and end up paying with their money to get on the CTA instead of using their card.  Even though they say to tap your card on the screen, commuters should actually hold their card up to the bottom of the screen until they hear a tone that indicates the card worked.  This works much better than tapping the card on the center of the console.

Many commuters need to be careful that their debit cards do not get charged when using Ventra.  Since many of us are used to keeping the card in our wallets when we use it, some people have claimed that their debit or credit cards were charged when they used their Ventra card.  This is a glitch that CTA stated they are working on fixing, but until then it is advised that commuters take their Ventra card out of their wallet when using it.

While Ventra is supposed to be a reduced-fare system, one of the more serious glitches it faces has to do with the fare system itself.  Even though commuters are loading money onto their cards and have the receipts to prove it, their cards frequently show a zero or negative balance.  This situation becomes worse if the Ventra machines are out of order, which seems to have been happening a lot since the card was first introduced.  When this happens, CTA employees are told to let those commuters on board anyway, but it still is an unfortunate situation for commuters to be put in that should never happen.

It was revealed recently that Money Network (owned by First Data), one of the companies behind the system, received an F rating by the Better Business Bureau.  Money Network received nearly 100 complaints in the last 3 years, some of which involved fraudulent charges made on customer’s debit cards.  Now that this information has come to light, CTA officials are looking into their relationship with First Data, but it certainly has not calmed the aggravation commuters feel about the Ventra card system.

CTA officials are hard at work fixing the many problems and glitches the Ventra card is facing, but it has left many commuters angry and confused with the new system.  Many commuters see no benefit to this new system and miss the old payment system.  This is still a new technology, so hopefully the glitches can be fixed in a timely matter before everyone decides to go back to the old system.

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