The Chainlink

OK - it's Friday (TGIF btw) and I am going to unload a M_A_J_O_R VENTra...I got my card in the mail; followed the instuctions to activate it (very poor btw) and received a message that 'my card is already activated' (wtf). OK - I'll play along. I do not know the access code (never set it up - do-h); cannot log in to retrieve it (two strikes for you), so I call the "toll free" number (what a joke); and to speak with someone about it I am told

(with a very cheery female voice (oh spare me honey) "your wait time will be approximately 26 minutes". yeah right. like I have NOTHING better to do than sit on hold

and listen to this nauseating music (good thing I collect barf bags from southwest airlines (now THERE is a company with awesome customer service btw - can you say capitalism with a KAPITAL SEE?????). VENTRA darling - you get a BIG FAT F- in my grade book. I am flushing this lovely little card down the toilet. Oh wait - i will use my handy dandy "pick puncher" and make some nice guitar picks out of you; it was nice knowing you. and why do I hate the CTA ??? let me count the ways. When I get even a B+ from my customers I have to meet with them to see what ever I can do to change that grade to an A+.

 

OK - I feel SO much better now...TGIF

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Here's why . . .

I got a Ventra card a few weeks ago but haven't activated it yet.  My employer would regularly dump $75 a month onto my Chicago Card but it was always hovering at the maximum amount since I was commuting on the bike.  The last autoload will be in December (assuming my balance isn't large enough to prevent the transaction) and I'm worried about losing that balance if I switch.

Today, the CTA began publishing Ventra performance reports on its web site, here in depth and here as an overview.  The pdf is chock full of wonky-geeky info relating to tap times, market share, call center waits and so on.  Interesting stuff.

 
Some highlights of the Ventra data from 11/22:
 
  • More than 63 percent of CTA rides are via Ventra.  Every day, hundreds of thousands of riders use Ventra.
  • Call Center performance has improved, but more improvements and better performance is needed.
  • Rail tap times are meeting most performance standards, but improvement is needed.  Software upgrades installed over the past two weeks have reduced tap times.
  • Bus tap times are well below performance standards.  The same software upgrade already in place on rail has shown improvement on the initial 50,000 transactions, and the upgrade is being rolled out to all buses.
 

When will Ventra be working for Metra?  That's really the only improvement from a customer's perspective.

And why didn't Metra accept the Chicago card, and why will the eventually allow Ventra?

Courtesy of Charles P/ Citizens Taking Action list:

Public Forum on Ventra Card, WTTW, Thursday, December 5th, 6:00 PM

Email Reservation Required

 

Anybody who wants to come must reserve a seat by emailing ChicagoTonight@wttw.com   

 

The subject line should read: VENTRA TICKETS

 

In the email, please list your name and phone number as well as the names of everyone coming with you.

 

Please arrive at the WTTW Studio at 6:00 PM on Thursday, December 5.

 

WTTW is located at 5400 N. St. Louis Avenue in Chicago.

 

Please go to the WEST entrance toward the back of the building to check in.

 

Take Kimble #82, Foster #92, or Peterson #84 CTA buses

I tried to use my Chicago Card at a blue line turnstyle yesterday and it said "expired."

The attendant said that seemed to be happening to all Chicago Card users since April 1.

All the info I could find outlined a phase-out process starting May 1, and I called the CTA who verified that the cards should work until July 1.

Thus I was dragged kicking and screaming to the Ventra card, which I'll use for the first time in a few hours...

My Ventra card has been working flawlessly for the past few months.  I hope this won't jinx us.

I look at it this way. There is a new system to do the same thing. There is zero chance I will use a Ventra card as a credit card. I don't know who feels otherwise. I load it with money I intend to use for transit and I use it for buses and trains. Now that its not new anymore its pretty much the same thing except it swipes differently. I cut my Chicago Card a while ago. 

h' 1.0 said:

I tried to use my Chicago Card at a blue line turnstyle yesterday and it said "expired."

The attendant said that seemed to be happening to all Chicago Card users since April 1.

All the info I could find outlined a phase-out process starting May 1, and I called the CTA who verified that the cards should work until July 1.

Thus I was dragged kicking and screaming to the Ventra card, which I'll use for the first time in a few hours...

Similar for me.

David Barish said:

I look at it this way. There is a new system to do the same thing. There is zero chance I will use a Ventra card as a credit card. I don't know who feels otherwise. I load it with money I intend to use for transit and I use it for buses and trains. Now that its not new anymore its pretty much the same thing except it swipes differently.

I was recently bitten when Ventra didn't bother to notify me that the auto-load CC I had loaded was expired. Or that they were unable to "top up." Instead of dealing with it pro-actively, I was there at the turnstile dealing with it. Progress as promised.

Sorry to hear. Something to look forward to.

I would have liked to find out some other way than at the turnstyle that my Chicago Card was dead.

Justin B Newman said:

I was recently bitten when Ventra didn't bother to notify me that the auto-load CC I had loaded was expired. Or that they were unable to "top up." Instead of dealing with it pro-actively, I was there at the turnstile dealing with it. Progress as promised.

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