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Ventra reader outages reported on CTA, Pace buses

The CTA and riders are reporting Ventra Card reader outages on some buses during rush hour and into the evening, after several dozen Pace buses experienced similar problems Friday.

The CTA has "reports of scattered outages of (Ventra Card) bus readers," and was working with the Ventra contractor on fixing the issue, said CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase, who did not immediately have details of how widespread the outages might be.

Over the course of the day Friday, 68 Pace buses were affected by outages, said Pace spokesman Patrick Wilmot. Pace runs as many as 1,800 buses during rush hour alone.

Riders on several bus routes this evening, including the No. 151/Sheridan and the No. 143/Stockton-Michigan Express, were told there was a general outage among bus card readers, although some riders reported being able to use their Ventra cards on buses including the No. 22/Clark, the No. 146/Inner Drive Express and the No. 157/Streeterville-Taylor.

Riders reported having trouble starting before 5 p.m., and riders were still unable to use their cards on at least some buses after 7 p.m., with drivers waving riders on without having them pay fare.

After swiping his Ventra card several times to no avail, Omid Razavi, 31, was allowed to board a southbound No. 157/Streeterville-Taylor bus on Michigan Avenue. 

"I hate it," the Loop student said of Ventra. "At first, I couldn't believe it [has so many problems] because it's a new technology."

Razavi added he prefers the old CTA payment system over Ventra.

Kimberly Green, 42, of the Lincoln Park neighborhood, said she did not mind the latest Ventra snafu. Green, who works in advertising, was one of four passengers whose cards were declined as they tried to board a northbound 151 bus on Michigan Avenue.

"They'll work it out," Green said after she took her seat. "It hasn't been that big of an issue for me."

Suzan Toti, 38, of Hyde Park, also said the scattered outages did not bother her, especially because they meant a free ride on the northbound No. 6/Jackson Park Express bus.

"It's a better problem -- for me," the receptionist said after getting off on Michigan Avenue.

Toti added this evening was only the second time she has had an issue with Ventra. Overall, she said she is satisfied with the system.

Riders reported outages on routes including the No. 2/Hyde Park Express, No. 3/King Drive, No. 6, No. 22/Clark, No. 26/South Shore Express, No. 52/Kedzie, No. 55/Garfield-55th, No. 60/Blue Island, No. 62/Chicago, No. 70/Division, No. 76/Diversey, No. 143, No. 146, No. 147/Outer Drive Express, No. 148/Clarendon-Michigan Express, No. 151, No. 156/LaSalle and 157.

Tribune reporter Jon Hilkevitch contributed

chicagobreaking@tribune.com | Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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