Courtesy phone calls latest move to iron out Ventra transit card glitches
By ROSALIND ROSSI Transportation Reporter October 22, 2013 7:46PM
A Ventra transit card reader.
Updated: November 24, 2013 6:39AM
After reversing course on some Ventra deadlines, CTA officials said Tuesday that Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus holders will be getting “courtesy calls” to iron out any glitches with their Ventra fare payment cards.
Receiving the phone calls will be an unspecified portion of the 300,000 Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus holders who may not have activated their new Ventra cards or who provided Ventra with “incomplete information,’’ said CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis.
“These are courtesy calls to a subset of Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus customers who are in the transition process,” Lukidis said.
However, Lukidis did not immediately know if CTA staff or its Ventra contractor, Cubic Transportation Systems Inc., would be making the calls; what time of day and over what days cardholders should expect calls, or how many cardholders would be receiving phone calls.
CTA President Forrest Claypool on Oct. 9 announced that, due to a flood of calls and long hold times, the agency was putting on hold Ventra transition deadlines it had imposed only two days earlier. That move allowed the resumption of sales of old magnetic striped cards and the ability of Chicago Card holders to still reload their old cards.
Meanwhile, Claypool said, Cubic had been asked to triple the number of operators manning calls — from about 100 to about 300 — to its Ventra phone line (877-669-8368).
Claypool also said Cubic would be sending out about 110,000 emails to help Chicago Card Plus and Chicago Card holders who had been unable to activate their Ventra cards. The emails would offer “very clear, simple directions on how to activate cards,’’ Claypool said.
Tuesday’s move apparently means the CTA has stepped up the outreach to personal calls to riders who may be having problems with Ventra.
The new Ventra cards include a special chip that allows riders to merely tap their card on a reader to register payment, allowing for what CTA officials say should be faster boarding. The new payment system also allows credit or debit cards with the same chip — called a radio frequency identification chip — to be used to pay fares.