#1  
Old 04-15-2013, 12:44 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Ventra? WTF?

Yeah, I've read their page at the CTA website, but I'm still not sure I grok it. Is this a good thing for us, or just another twist of the blade? I just got my Chicago Card Plus last month. Bastards.

Last edited by Tim R. Mortiss; 04-15-2013 at 12:46 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2013, 09:25 AM
enalzi enalzi is offline
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It's basically the same thing as the Chicago card except you also have the ability to use it as an actual debit card. But that comes loaded with hidden fees. If you plan on just using it like a Chicago Card, it's identical.
  #3  
Old 04-15-2013, 09:36 AM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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It's fine for people who will use just the Ventra card that's like using Chicago Card Plus. The one that has a pre-paid debit card attached to it will screw many, many unwitting people who think pre-paid debit cards are something that's a remotely good idea in the first place. The single-trip and day passes will be paper and also carry extra fees so rides can potentially cost people three bucks, and they're going to bear the brunt of the change.

Since you have a Chicago Card Plus, just hang on to it and the emails I've gotten about it so far say they'll give lots of notice and make it easy for us. I'm thinking they may just send emails with links when it's time, with a choice of clicking the link for the plain card or the debit card and once we choose, they'll just mail the cards for activation once we get them in the mail. Anyway, I hope it will be that simple.
  #4  
Old 04-15-2013, 11:18 AM
BorgHunter BorgHunter is offline
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The one advantage Ventra is going to offer is the ability to use a credit or debit card you already have as your transit pass. Check your card for one of those NFC logos (looks like this). Ask the card issuer if they offer one, if you don't have that logo on any of your cards. Could mean one fewer card in your wallet, but worst-case you just get a Ventra card and it works pretty much the same as a Chicago Card Plus does today.

Of course, I may end up with one additional card if I can't get any of my credit cards or my debit card to be NFC-ized, since I have the Chicago Card Plus with I-Go and I haven't heard anything about I-Go using Ventra. Oh well. Maybe I can get my phone set up instead.
  #5  
Old 04-15-2013, 03:25 PM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is offline
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It will actually work like either the Chicago Card (the one you have to recharge at a train station) or a Chicago Card Plus (the one that gets automatically charged to your credit/debit card each month or when your balance gets low) -- your choice.

The big advantage is that unlike a Chicago Card, you can buy a Ventra Card from a vending machine in every train station (like a Transit Card) and (supposedly) from 2000 other locations. There is no real reason to ever buy the $3 pass unless you plan to take one and only one trip on the CTA in the next 18 months. You will have to pay a $5 deposit to get a Ventra card, but that deposit is registered as a $5 credit on your card as soon as you either call their 800 number or register on their web site. I see no way they would know if you gave a fake name when you registered. (But if you register with a fake name, you won't be able to get your balance replaced if your card is lost or stolen.)

I found this page helped a lot: Common Misconceptions about Ventra.

You'll have to take positive action to activate the debit card portion of Ventra. If you just pretend it isn't there, I think this will be mostly a non-event, except for the fact that CTA spent half a billion dollars to install this.
  #6  
Old 04-15-2013, 03:48 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post
I found this page helped a lot: Common Misconceptions about Ventra.
Every paragraph on that page pissed me off.
  #7  
Old 04-15-2013, 04:28 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
Every paragraph on that page pissed me off.
Holy crap, you are not exaggerating. This is so horrible that their jazz hands couldn't dress this up to make it look even barely good.
  #8  
Old 04-15-2013, 05:51 PM
Cheryl44 Cheryl44 is offline
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I am not happy about this. I don't mind their changing the cards *if* the old chips are really obsolete. I have a feeling they're not longer being manufactured because the CTA is phasing them out, not the other way around.

And using a transit agency to gouge the poor with the debit scheme should really be illegal.
  #9  
Old 04-15-2013, 07:46 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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Since I'm already a Plus user, I don't think I'll see much difference, really. The only thing I'm nervous about is what the regular non-debit card will look like. I'm not happy about having to pull out a card that might look like it has cash value, safety is an issue for me. I ride the Red Line late at night and frequent the Belmont area on weekends, and those are places where I would not like to have to flash something that looks like a debit card or have to pull out my phone to use the NFC feature. And there's absolutely no way I'll ever keep my real debit card that's attached to my checking account in the transit card pocket in my bag!
  #10  
Old 04-15-2013, 09:21 PM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is offline
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Originally Posted by SeaDragonTattoo View Post
Since I'm already a Plus user, I don't think I'll see much difference, really. The only thing I'm nervous about is what the regular non-debit card will look like. I'm not happy about having to pull out a card that might look like it has cash value, safety is an issue for me. I ride the Red Line late at night and frequent the Belmont area on weekends, and those are places where I would not like to have to flash something that looks like a debit card or have to pull out my phone to use the NFC feature. And there's absolutely no way I'll ever keep my real debit card that's attached to my checking account in the transit card pocket in my bag!
Unless you qualify for a reduced fare (senior citizen, handicapped, etc) my understanding is that all Ventra cards will have a Mastercard symbol on them, but the debit card subaccount will not be active unless requested.

Since it is an RFID touch card, it should work just fine if you have it in a regular paper or plastic envelope. It doesn't need to actually be inserted in any equipment. I keep my Chicago Card in a small manilla envelope I got for another reason that just perfectly fits it. I never take it out. It works fine inside the envelope for paying fares and recharging. I'm hoping the same will be true of Ventra.
  #11  
Old 04-15-2013, 09:29 PM
BorgHunter BorgHunter is offline
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Originally Posted by Cheryl44 View Post
I am not happy about this. I don't mind their changing the cards *if* the old chips are really obsolete. I have a feeling they're not longer being manufactured because the CTA is phasing them out, not the other way around.
There was a lot of similar talk in DC a couple years ago; see here. I suspect the situation in Chicago is similar; it's certainly true that Cubic is pushing its customers to use open fare systems rather than proprietary RFID chips. Given the state's mandate that the three RTA agencies use a single fare system, it's probable that it was a "we have to do this eventually anyway, may as well bite the bullet and do it now" kind of situation at CTA HQ. Yeah, Cubic would probably make more Chicago Cards if the CTA paid them enough, but they're kind of a monopoly with transit fare systems and they have a lot of power in that field. I don't blame the CTA doing now what it would have to do eventually anyway.

I agree that all the fees around the debit card part of Ventra makes the thing really shady, though. I heard back from Discover a few hours ago and they say they'll be replacing my current credit card with one containing an RFID chip, so it looks like I get to avoid Ventra-branded plastic altogether once this thing finally comes to fruition.

Last edited by BorgHunter; 04-15-2013 at 09:30 PM.
  #12  
Old 04-15-2013, 09:41 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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Ah! Alley Dweller, thanks for mentioning that. I was thinking I would figure out a plastic or paper sleeve of some type to keep it in, and your post reminded me of these coin envelopes we have at work. Fits a credit card perfectly! Problem solved. Still ticks me off, though.

Last edited by SeaDragonTattoo; 04-15-2013 at 09:42 PM.
  #13  
Old 04-16-2013, 12:43 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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My Chicago Card Plus never comes out of my wallet. Stays tucked in an inside pocket, and I touch the entire wallet to the reader. I assume the Ventra would work the same way. Am I wrong?
  #14  
Old 04-16-2013, 06:36 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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I just got a Chicago Card Plus (pay-per-ride, since I don't take the L that often) not that long ago, as well, and hadn't heard anything about this yet.
  #15  
Old 04-16-2013, 12:28 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
My Chicago Card Plus never comes out of my wallet. Stays tucked in an inside pocket, and I touch the entire wallet to the reader. I assume the Ventra would work the same way. Am I wrong?
No, it's the same idea. The Ventra readers I've seen so far are top - mounted, so it may be more or less awkward depending on which pocket your wallet is in. I never had luck with any way other than touching the actual card to the reader, but I'm on my second Plus card in 13 years, so it's old and that may have something to do with it.
  #16  
Old 04-16-2013, 04:48 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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Holy crap, you are not exaggerating. This is so horrible that their jazz hands couldn't dress this up to make it look even barely good.
Jazz Hands AND Spirit Fingers.
  #17  
Old 04-16-2013, 09:20 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaDragonTattoo View Post
No, it's the same idea. The Ventra readers I've seen so far are top - mounted, so it may be more or less awkward depending on which pocket your wallet is in. I never had luck with any way other than touching the actual card to the reader, but I'm on my second Plus card in 13 years, so it's old and that may have something to do with it.
No, no! I don't mean my wallet is tucked into an inside pocket of my trousers! My Chicago Plus Card is tucked into an inside pocket of the wallet. I take the wallet out of my trousers and touch it to the reader. That would be pretty humorous to try to gyrate my hips to get the wallet near the card reader without taking it out of my pants!
  #18  
Old 04-16-2013, 09:55 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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You wouldn't believe what I've seen people do to try not to take their card out from wherever they put it. But, I was thinking an inside jacket pocket rather than pants! But now I've got a visual of someone trying to hump the turnstile and I'm having a case of the giggles.
  #19  
Old 04-18-2013, 12:09 PM
Cheryl44 Cheryl44 is offline
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We have a card swipe to get in at work if it's the weekend or after normal business hours. I've seen men bump it with their butts so they don't have to take their ID cards out of their wallets, or their wallets out of their back pockets.
  #20  
Old 04-18-2013, 12:11 PM
Cheryl44 Cheryl44 is offline
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Oh, Borg, I asked Richard at I-Go about the CCP I-Go cards, and he said for now, keep using it as your I-Go card.
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