Metra train riders continue to report problems with Ventra app Monday

Monday, February 5, 2024
Metra riders continue to report problems with Ventra app
Metra riders continued to report problems with the Ventra app during the morning commute Monday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It was a rocky morning yet again as the Ventra ticketing app crashed for Metra riders during the morning commute.

Metra is apologizing to its customers again. They said the Ventra app is still not working as intended and that they're working with their vendor to fix the problem.

"My payments weren't going through and sometimes it said it was just not available," Metra rider Danielle Walker said.

Early Monday morning, things seemed to be going smoothly until commuter traffic on the trains got heavier in the 7 a.m. hour.

"When I first got on the train, the app was working fine," Metra rider Ed Svaldi said. "And then about halfway through they said the app was down they're having issues and I when I went to go do it again to take the tickets it wasn't working."

Yazmim Abila ended up using a paper Metra schedule and buying a paper ticket.

"They should fix it. They should fix it I don't know why. It's very aggravating. You want to know the schedule you want to buy a ticket. You cannot buy anything. It's a shame, so I hope they fix it soon," Abila said.

Monday morning's commute was the true test of the system after last week's ticketing nightmare when the Ventra app crashed as Metra rolled out a new fare structure on Feb. 1.

"On the first day it was so glitchy, it wouldn't even let you in. It logged me off," said passenger William Hill.

But later Monday afternoon, Hill said, he had better luck.

"It came right up, goes right to my time. That's a good sign," Hill said.

Helen Jumic was also able to use the app.

"I didn't have any issues. I don't understand why. Maybe I just got lucky," Jumic said.

The issues also came as Metra took away its remaining ticket windows in order to push more riders to use the Ventra app.

The rail agency said part of the issue was likely due to the increase in app users.

Monday morning, Metra said it appeared to be fixed after a major software upgrade over the weekend.

"Peanut butter and jelly," Metra rider Barbara Harris. "Not ready, but hopefully by the time we go home it'll be all right. You know, technology."

Metra said revenue lost in ticket fares could be in the million dollar range or more and that according to a provision in the contract, the app vendor would be responsible for reimbursing them.

Meanwhile some customers said they're just riding this out.

"I mean, I think it's things that happen sometimes that aren't predictable and I think the company, it sounds like they're doing the best to solve the issue," Metra rider Ana Bay, who had no issues, said.

Riders said conductors have been letting people ride despite the issues. Some passengers are still grateful for the service compared to the alternative.

"It's OK. I don't mind. I like the train. The traffic is terrible. This is well worth it, even if the app is not working," said Ram Rivera.

Meanwhile, Metra said it is directing customers to social media. They said they'll provide updates throughout the day.

The general manager for CUBIC, which operates app, shared a statement saying, in part, "We apologize for the inconvenience this is causing riders today and are committed to actively addressing it and making sure it doesn't happen again."