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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First you have to make sure you don't accidentally throw away your card, which arrives in a generic envelope that looks like junk mail, from a bank that no one has ever heard of. (The only reason it caught my eye is because it had a double V on it that looked exactly like the Divvy logo.) Then you have to make sure you read all your e-mail from Ventra, even if it seems like an annoying PR note you can delete, because one of them contains your User ID and password. Then you have to read all the written instructions v-e-r-y carefully because there are pitfalls planted in numerous steps. After much frustration, I was able to activate my card and even charge new funds to it with my employer-issued transit benefits card. However, I haven't actually used the Ventra card yet, and I'm a little scared to try. Let's hope the weather holds up until all the kinks are worked out.

According to Ventra, I was born on 01-01-1900.
Just sayin'

leftoverbacon said:

My beef with this whole Ventra system is that it's now almost impossible to be an anonymous transit user. At every turn you are encouraged to register you card w/ your Date of Birth and all sorts of personal info. I never signed onto the whole Chicago Card thing because I figure I'm in enough databases already. It's bad enough that my cell provider indefinitely keeps a log of the cell towers that my phone connects to, but now the private company that manages the Ventra program is going to keep records of every place I go on the CTA, and they can cross reference that with folks that I travel with? Tinfoil hat and all, but this "we need all your info" stuff has got to stop.

Looks like I better budget for more time enjoying Bike Winter.

leftoverbacon said:

My beef with this whole Ventra system is that it's now almost impossible to be an anonymous transit user. 

I think you can still buy transit passes anonymously at the Ventra vending machines in train station foyers.

Cameron 7.5 mi said:

Picking 1-877-NOW-VENT as their phone number appears to be the one thing that they got right.

Awesome.


Anne Alt said:

So far I've only needed to use it twice. The first time it worked perfectly on the first tap. On the return trip, it took 5 attempts to get through the gate.

I haven't had much trouble getting through, but at the turnstile Ventra takes half a heartbeat longer to register than the old CCP cards did.  Puts a glitch in my stride.

I also first assumed it was junk of some sort....

I wonder if I can ask for help here-- would you or someone be willing to look at your e-mail and tell me what  the subject line was (verbatim) so I can search for it?

Thx.


Michelle Stenzel said:

First you have to make sure you don't accidentally throw away your card, which arrives in a generic envelope that looks like junk mail, from a bank that no one has ever heard of. (The only reason it caught my eye is because it had a double V on it that looked exactly like the Divvy logo.) Then you have to make sure you read all your e-mail from Ventra, even if it seems like an annoying PR note you can delete, because one of them contains your User ID and password. Then you have to read all the written instructions v-e-r-y carefully because there are pitfalls planted in numerous steps. After much frustration, I was able to activate my card and even charge new funds to it with my employer-issued transit benefits card. However, I haven't actually used the Ventra card yet, and I'm a little scared to try. Let's hope the weather holds up until all the kinks are worked out.

I searched my inbox under "ventra" and all I got was this:

Press Release   September 10, 2013 Citizens Taking Action for transit dependent riders For Information:                              www.CTAriders.org Charles Paidock, Secretary           (312) 714-7790 cpaidock@hotmail.com Kevin Peterson                                (773) 896-8126 transitcatt@hotmail.com Donald Richie                                  (731) 659-1884 donaldrichie@hotmail.com   Furnish Information to a Company or a Penalty of $5 is Imposed    Transit Group Sees Problems for Passengers  in Using New Fare Card   At a meeting on Monday, September 9, 2013, of Citizens Taking Action, a public transit advocacy organization, members discussed numerous current and potential problems in the implementation of the open fare card system, called Ventra, the use of which officially began yesterday.  Concerns ranged from how you buy a card to actually using them, the required registration or $5 penalty, the obligation to go on-line for information, the upcoming cancellation of all passes passengers may have purchased, etc.  Many felt that the process of getting a Ventra card is complex and confusing.   The organization testified at the only public hearing held on the new fare card, in February, and later at a hearing called by the Transportation Committee of the Illinois Legislature due to numerous issues that had been raised regarding the new transit card system.   Mr. Paidock stated that:  “The CTA promised to undertake extensive educational efforts on the new card system, but they have done nothing apparently except for handing out brochures at a few locations.  I thought they were going to have meetings across the city.  CTA is going to have “Balance Transfer Locations” for one time only for a few hours in parks across the city, but I guess if you miss it they get to keep your money.  According to Mr. Paidock, the information available to the public on line would take some time to read, and is simply too complicated for many passengers to understand.     Mr. Paidock added that:  “I also have very serious concerns about giving a private company access to the fare box.  This public-private partnership may prove to be another costly mistake for the city.  And CTA signed a ten year contract.”   Citizens Taking Action member Jake Aranov noted that this web site is the only way to get adequate information about Ventra.  “If you can’t do that, tough,” Mr. Aranov said.   Although Citizens Taking Action member Donald Richie noted that CTA had a staff member at the Ventra vending machine where he bought his Ventra card that day.  Charles Paidock replied, “I don’t know how spending two minutes talking to a CTA employee in the middle of the rush hour can enable you to know what you need to know.”   Jake Aranov observed that “If the system is too complicated, people won’t use it   Citizens Taking Action member Kevin Peterson noted that monthly passes do not list any expiration date. “How do you know when it expires?” said Mr. Peterson. “There’s no proof.”  Mr. Peterson also mentioned what he called “the fiasco with the school kids.”  School children and college students put money on their Ventra cards on line, but were told at the fare box that there was no money on their cards.  Charles Paidock suggested that “they appear to be making this up as they go along.”   Donald Richie noted that Ventra card users are charged $5 unless they register their cards within 90 days after purchase, but questions were raised at to,  “Why must we ‘register’?  Why must people provide personal information to ride a bus?  Who are we giving this info to?”   ###                                       [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

If you're just a magnetic strip CTA guy like me, you can buy a non-debit Ventra card at certain stores (I got mine at a CVS).  You don't have to register it, but they bribe you $5 to do it.

I had no problems with Ventra. I got my PIN via email and my card a few days later, set it up, called in and talked to a very nice lady with a wonderful southern accent in Tennessee to confirm my CCP balance would transfer over. It did and the whole process was a piece of cake.

I'm not a fan of the way the card looks. I'd like it to have a better design -- maybe like they give the high school kids. The credit card look is so dull. From what I understand though, you have to have that one if you want the auto-reload feature.

The optional prepaid debit card account is totally separate from the Ventra account. The card can be used for both accounts but both have to be set up separately. There is nothing special about the debit card account with respect to the Ventra account other than the fact that it can be used with the same card.

h' 1.0 said:

I got my card yesterday-- do I have no choice but  to have the debit card funtion? I don't want it.

The subject line in my email was "Convenience is Coming!" and I received the email on Sep 1. 

I was able to find it by searching Ventra in gmail. If you can't find it check your spam or maybe deleted. 



h' 1.0 said:

I also first assumed it was junk of some sort....

I wonder if I can ask for help here-- would you or someone be willing to look at your e-mail and tell me what  the subject line was (verbatim) so I can search for it?

Thx.

Following is the email. The password is the 4-digit PIN.

[EMAIL]

From: <updates@ventrachicago.com>
Subject: Convenience is coming!
Date: [REMOVED]
To: [REMOVED]
Reply-To: <updates@ventrachicago.com>

Thanks for getting on board with Ventra™! You’ll receive your new Ventra Card in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. Then, you must ACTIVATE your new Card by calling 1.888.824.8802. Please follow the process below to create your Ventra access code to activate your new Card.

You may use the Ventra transit account username and temporary password listed below to view your account on ventrachicago.com. After changing your password, you can create an access code that will also allow you to review and make changes to your account over the phone. Once that’s completed, you’ll be ready to take advantage of online account management and much more.

USERNAME: [REMOVED]

PASSWORD: [REMOVED]

If you misplace your Chicago Card Plus (CCP) prior to receiving your Ventra Card, a new CCP card will not be issued. You will need to purchase CTA or Pace transit fare until your Ventra Card arrives.

Now sit tight. Your new way to pay for the CTA and Pace will be arriving shortly!

Thanks,

The Ventra Team

Money Network Account Services 7000 Goodlett Farms Parkway, Suite 200 Cordova, Tennessee 38016

© 2013 Chicago Transit Authority & First Data Corporation. Cards are issued by MetaBank™, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by MasterCard International Incorporated and subject to Terms and Conditions posted at ventrachicago.com. MasterCard and the MasterCard Brand Mark are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated. All rights reserved. All trademarks, service marks and brand names mentioned in this material are property of their respective owners.

[/EMAIL]

h' 1.0 said:

I also first assumed it was junk of some sort....

I wonder if I can ask for help here-- would you or someone be willing to look at your e-mail and tell me what  the subject line was (verbatim) so I can search for it?

Thx.

Subject: Convenience is coming!

From: updates@ventrachicago.com


h' 1.0 said:

I also first assumed it was junk of some sort....

I wonder if I can ask for help here-- would you or someone be willing to look at your e-mail and tell me what  the subject line was (verbatim) so I can search for it?

Thx. 

Many thanks. Nothing found.

BruceBikes said:

Subject: Convenience is coming!

From: updates@ventrachicago.com


h' 1.0 said:

I also first assumed it was junk of some sort....

I wonder if I can ask for help here-- would you or someone be willing to look at your e-mail and tell me what  the subject line was (verbatim) so I can search for it?

Thx. 

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