By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz
11:54 AM CDT, September 13, 2013
South Loop resident Dylan Oakes, 20, said he was surprised this week when he tapped his wallet against the Ventra card reader and was charged $5 for his CTA ride since he has a prepaid university pass through Columbia College.
Instead of reading his U-Pass Ventra card, though, the Ventra reader pulled from his contactless Chase card in his wallet--a frustration that some Ventra users have shared on social media.
The CTA said it aware of the complaints and is asking its riders to take Ventra cards out of their wallets and purses so unregistered debit cards are not accidentally charged.
"We do recommend that you take the card out and wave the card in front of the reader," CTA spokesman Brian Steele said.
Chicago Card users have long enjoyed the convenience of leaving their fare cards in their wallets while they tap.
The agency said Ventra machines can read contactless debit cards. Chase Bank and other banks have this technology.
Steele said the $5 charge is temporary. The charge is listed as a pending transaction to make sure funds are available and will eventually reflect the actual fare ($2.25 for a single rail ride, $2 for a bus ride), Steele said.
"The time it takes for pre-authorization depends on an individual’s bank—but is typically complete within 24 hours," Steele said in an e-mail.
The accidental debit card charge is just one of a few Ventra complaints that have been lodged since the new fare payment system was introduced last month and became available to all riders on Monday.
Some riders have complained that their balances have not reflected the money they paid. Others haven't received their cards. CTA President Forrest Claypool said the agency expected glitches and have been working on them.
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