Ventra card

CTA riders who pay for their commute using pre-tax income have to transition to Ventra by Friday, the CTA said. (April 2, 2014)

For three years, Brittney Lane has been in a relationship that works.

The Logan Square resident said she has never felt disappointed or frustrated, since her significant other is drama-free and dependable.

(For the record, her boyfriend disapproves of this union.)

No matter, because Lane is headed for a breakup. Next month, she has to part with her beloved Chicago Card Plus.

"I've had no problems at all with my Chicago Card," said Lane, 25. "I am very attached to it I guess -- as much as a person can be attached to their transit card."

Lane said she is so passionate about her Chicago Card Plus that she has gotten into fights with her boyfriend, a Ventra card user, about the effectiveness of the two cards.

She is one of a group of stubborn CTA riders who love their Chicago Cards so much or are so wary of Ventra that they have waited until the last minute to transition to the CTA's new fare payment system.

Starting Thursday, though, Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus users will not be able to autoload their cards.

On June 1, they won't be able to use that card at all as the CTA fully transitions to Ventra.
The CTA previously relaxed these deadlines so Ventra vendor Cubic Transportation Systems could fix problems, such as lengthy tap times, which the CTA said have now been eased.

Lamont Lynn, of Andersonville, said he's been a Chicago Card user since 2002 and though he received a Ventra card in September, he's been reluctant to change because of the Ventra glitches last year.

"My Chicago Card Plus always works all the time and every time. No double taps," said Lynn, 31.

Some Ventra users have complained it takes more than one tap for their card to register. Last year, the CTA put decals on Ventra readers to show riders how to tap their cards.

The agency doesn't know how many Chicago Card users have not switched to Ventra, which now accounts for nearly nine of 10 CTA rides.

Count Will Guzzardi as a reluctant Ventra convert.

When Guzzardi was mounting his successful run in the Democratic primary for a statehouse seat to represent the Northwest Side, he hosted a question-and-answer session on Reddit in January.

Guzzardi was asked about affordable transportation and he responded that more state funding should go to bus and rail service.

"And Ventra sucks," Guzzardi said. "They can pry my Chicago Card Plus out of my cold dead hand."

It didn't have to come to that. Guzzardi said he "bit the bullet" and got a Ventra card about a week ago.

"I figured I [had] better finally and begrudgingly make the move," Guzzardi said. "It probably isn't any more glitchy than the Chicago Card was."

tswartz@tribune.com  |  @tracyswartz