Ventra card roll out slowing for CTA

October 9, 2013 (CHICAGO)

It comes as many commuters face a series of problems related to switching to the new payment system.

Wednesday night, the CTA has reversed its decision Monday to cut off some fare payment options.

If you have a Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus, you can once again load money on it at a station. The CTA apologized, saying that it is unacceptable that riders are being left on hold.

How the Ventra rollout is going depends on who you ask.

The private contractor that runs Ventra, Cubic Transportation, continues to be flooded with calls.

Around noon, wait times for a Ventra operator were so long, we were kicked off immediately.

"Ventra should have been prepared for that and was not prepared for that, and for that we absolutely apologize to our customers," said CTA spokesperson Brian Steele. "They should not have experienced the call times, the wait times they had on some of those calls."

In light of those problems, CTA says Ventra will triple the number of call center operators.

More than 100,000 Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus customers who represent the bulk of the callers are being re-emailed a username and temporary password to register the card online.

Sales of magnetic strip fare cards will resume after they were cut off two days ago.

And Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus customers will once again be able to load money onto their cards at stations.

"Given some of the issues we've seen, we want to provide that as another option for customers while this really intense transition period is ongoing," said Steele.

CTA suggests if you don't yet have a Ventra card, buy one at a station, vendor, or on the Ventra website.

That way you can bypass the call center and register online.

You will, however, need to talk to a real person to transfer any balance from a Chicago Card to Ventra.

Ironically, CTA said it made the move to Ventra in part to give riders a better customer service experience. The agency said they are confident with the changes Wednesday the transition to Ventra will be smoother.

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