CTA Ventra meetings planned as transit cards expire

December 16, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The meeting comes on the same day some transit cards are expiring. Some cards expired at 12 a.m. and no longer work on trains and buses.

According to the CTA, 66 percent of riders are now using Ventra cards, and the transit agency is hoping that number goes up when people attend meetings this week.

CTA and RTA staff will attend the meetings to help customers make the switch, including seniors and riders with disabilities, and to answer questions.

The CTA extended the transition process to Ventra after systemwide glitches and flaws with individual Ventra cards. Initially, the magnetic-striped cards were supposed to be a thing of the past by Monday. Now, some riders can still use those cards, while some of them still expired Monday morning.

Riders with money still on those cards can transfer the balance to a new magnetic-stripe card or to a Ventra card.

The Ventra meetings will be held:

-From 10 a.m. to noon Monday at the Carter G. Woodson Library auditorium, 9525 S. Halsted St., Chicago; and from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday at Truman College's Novar Hall, Room 3426, 3rd floor, 1145 W. Wilson Ave., Chicago.

-From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Forest Park Library, in the Austin Room, 7555 Jackson Blvd., Forest Park.

-From noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, Rooms 1 & 2, 2102 W. Ogden Ave., Chicago.

-From 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the RTA Board Room, 16th floor, 175 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago.

-From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Southwest Regional Center, Rooms 2, 3 and 4, 6117 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago

Most people at Woodson Monday were seniors, like Muriel Stacker. She said she believes she's been getting double charged on her Ventra card and needs assistance.

"I just want to know if I hit the card to the machine and it beeps and it says stop, am I still being charged? Because I don't use it every day," said Stacker.

Others are getting help transferring balances to Ventra from magnetic-stripe cards, along with reduced-fare cards for disabled and senior customers. Robin Crayton has questions before transitioning from her senior card.

"I really wanted to know how to use the Ventra card. I've seen people on the bus using it sometimes, they have to swipe it twice, I just want to use it correctly," said Crayton.

"We are all here today partnering together to help each and every customer with any issues they may have to be able to prepare them so they can ride and have mobility and independence," said Diane Palmer, RTA deputy executive director of customer service.

Yvonne Stephens still has Ventra doubts; she says she's holding onto her magnetic stripe card until the absolute last possible minute.

"Ventra has had problems ever since day one. All of my friends have said they have always had issues with them, that's why I never converted over too," Stephens said.

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