CBS 2 Chicago wbbm7801059 670 The Score

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CTA To Bill Ventra For More Than 900,000 Free Rides

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A Ventra fare card reader. (Credit: CBS)

A Ventra fare card reader. (Credit: CBS)

Lisa Fielding Lisa Fielding
Lisa Fielding is a news anchor and reporter for Newsradio 780. She...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — The CTA gave out more than a million dollars in free rides due to Ventra equipment failure over a two month period.

The vast majority of the 930,061 uncollected fares were on buses. Nearly 21,000 free rides were on trains.

CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase says the contractor will be reimbursing the agency for the equipment malfunction.

“The total rides of over 900,000 equals about half of an average CTA weekday ridership, so in the big scheme of things it is a smaller chunk. However, it is significant and we will bill Cubic for this amount and be reimbursed,” said Chase.

Chase says since the CTA established new performance criteria for the contractor, Ventra performance has improved significantly and the number of free rides has dropped dramatically. Three out of every four CTA riders are now using Ventra.

CBS 2 reached out to Ventra’s private operator, Cubic Transportation Systems and they responded, “All of these matters are the subject of an ongoing discussion between the CTA and Cubic.”

Customers not surprisingly are more worried about their Bills than the CTA’s.

“I had to get money put back on my card that was taken off without me noticing and I had to report to Ventra that they were taking money out of my checking account,” said James Lyons, Jr.

And some say having to pay for the Ventra Card just shows that the company is more interested in its bottom line than that of its customers.

“I dislike it. I’m used to the old CTA passes that we had before.
I’m used to buying the pass and not paying an extra $5 for a card I have to load all the time. I think it’s bull,” said Ngoc Phan.

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