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CTA riders report getting dozens of Ventra cards in mail

Chantal Sudbrack moved from Chicago to Cleveland four years ago and now only visits this city to see her family four to five times a year.

The next time she comes to Chicago, she'll have a variety of ways to pay for transit.

This past weekend, she received 274 Ventra cards in the mail to her Cleveland address.

"My postman has been laughing," said Sudbrack, who said she has held onto her Chicago Card for her Chicago visits and verified her address to Ventra.

Sudbrack, 38, is one of a few people who told RedEye they received dozens of Ventra cards after receiving multiple emails from Ventra, the CTA's new fare payment system, the weekend of Sept. 6. Ventra became available to the public Sept. 9.

"We’ve had a few instances reported to us in which customers received multiple emails or cards. We’re working quickly to address the problem and stop this from happening again," CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said in an email.

While some Chicago Card users are still waiting for their Ventra cards, Dan Lasky received his.

Actually, more than 100 of them.

Lasky, 34, said he received 271 e-mails from Ventra.

"I got one every 15 minutes until sometime Sunday morning they stopped," Lasky said. "I had to make a filter in Gmail, I got so many."

This morning, he opened up his mailbox to find more than 100 envelopes from Ventra, plus a note from the postal service that he had a "tray" of additional mail waiting for him at the post office. He hasn't opened all the envelopes and isn't sure what to do with all of the cards.

Lasky said he rides the CTA a few times a week and rarely has had problems with his Chicago Card Plus. He said he's reluctant to change to Ventra, which will replace Chicago Cards on Nov. 15.

"I honestly didn't want to [transition] in the first place," Lasky said. "I thought Chicago Card was just fine."

Seamus O’Mahoney has a similar problem. He said he started receiving e-mails every 15 minutes from Ventra the same day Lasky did.

He said he called Ventra and thought the problem was solved after Ventra fixed a glitch in his address. But the e-mails kept coming--about 75 in all.

And then the cards came. O’Mahoney said he received 40 Ventra cards in the mail--all with his name on them. O'Mahoney, who moved to LaGrange from Chicago two years ago, said he rides the CTA 10 times a month, more during Cubs season.

"It is pretty comical that have more cards than I ride the Red Line in a three-month span," said O’Mahoney, 36. "At this point, it's been such a hassle, I didn't want to stand over a paper shredder for a half an hour but I don't know what to do."

Some CTA riders have reported a myriad of Ventra glitches including inaccurate balances and faulty turnstiles when they tap their cards. CTA President Forrest Claypool said last month that glitches were to be expected.

Monday is the first deadline for Ventra transition. Chicago Card users will not be able to load more money onto their cards while the CTA will no longer sell disposable magnetic cards at rail stations.

Disposable cards will not be accepted on the CTA after Dec. 15.

Some riders have complained to RedEye they haven't received their cards yet, despite confirming their address in August.

"I feel bad there are people who are waiting for cards. I am an infrequent user and I don't have a pressing need," Sudbrack said.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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