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CTA Ventra Users Run Into Problems

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Some students using the first of CTA’s new Ventra farecards have run into problems. They can’t load fares.

WBBM’s Bob Roberts reports the students or their parents attempt to load the cards, get a receipt saying they did so successfully, and when they try to use the cards, they show a zero balance.

CTA spokesperson Lambrini Lukidis blamed the rush by thousands of students to do so virtually at once, but said the back-end process has been streamlined, and that all problems through Tuesday have been addressed.

“As we hear about problems we fix them,” she said.

She urged Ventra cardholders to use a special toll-free number sent to them with their new cards.

CTA and Pace bus drivers and customer service reps are being told to wave through those with problem cards.

College students with U-Passes that have not worked have had a different problem. Lukidis said their cards wouldn’t work until their fall term began.

The general roll-out for the cards is only days away. Cards are being mailed beginning this week to riders who currently hold Chicago Cards and the Chicago Card Plus. Lukidis said the new cards will go on sale at vending machines and retail locations Sept. 9.

Older fare cards will be phased out by the end of the year.

Ventra cards can be loaded at CTA ‘L’ stations, by calling Ventra or by going to its customer service center at 165 N. Jefferson St.

The Ventra cards issued to elementary and high school students differ from other Ventra cards in that they do not have the ability to be used as debit cards. Instead, they are doubling in many cases as student identification cards.

The Ventra phone number is (877) 669-8368, and the Web site is www.ventrachicago.com.

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