CHICAGO (CBS)–A spike in credit card fraud at ticket vending machines along Metra’s suburban Electric Line stations has prompted Metra to stop selling some passes at those machines.
Starting June 20, Electric Line customers will no longer be able to buy two types of tickets–10-day passes and monthly cards–from the vending machines at the 15 stations outside of the downtown stop.
One-way passes will still be available, Metra says.
While the change may inconvenience customers used to relying on the machines, Metra says eliminating vending machine sales of some of its pricier ticket options will save money the train operator loses from a surge in fraudulent credit card purchases being made at the machines.
The stolen credit card problem is unique to the Electric Line because it is the only Metra line that has vending machines instead of ticket agents at outlying stations.
That’s because Metra inherited the stations from Illinois Central when the purchase was made in 1987, according to Metra.
“There is a double cost to Metra when (stolen credit cards are used) because it is responsible for the fraudulent charges and because it is losing legitimate sales to customers who are buying the fraudulently-purchased tickets,” Metra said in a statement Wednesday.
Passengers can continue to buy all types of tickets at the five downtown stations or on the Ventra app.
“We are sorry we need to take this step and inconvenience our customers, but we hope they understand that we are trying to eliminate a practice that is costing us money,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski in a statement. “By removing these tickets from the vending machines, we are removing a reason why criminals come to our stations, thereby making the stations safer.”