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Article posted: 10/8/2013 6:13 PM

Pace working through Ventra issues

By Marni Pyke

In response to first-time Ventra customers' frustration about long waits on customer service phone lines and uncooperative websites, Pace officials said Tuesday they are working through the issues.

The transition to Ventra, a new fare system shared by Pace and the Chicago Transit Authority, started in September, but complaints spiked Monday, the first day the CTA stopped selling magnetic stripe cards or passes.

Pace spokesman Patrick Wilmot said growing pains will occur during the transition but noted that riders have more than two months to transition. Existing CTA and Pace passes or fare cards will be replaced by Ventra after Dec. 15, although cash will still be accepted.

More than one-third of current boardings on Pace and the CTA are with Ventra cards, which is a faster shift than the agencies expected. So far, there have been 11 million taps of Ventra cards at CTA stations or on buses since the summer.

One cause of Monday's glitches could have been a misunderstanding by Chicago Card Plus members trying to register their cards under Ventra, when in fact they are already registered, Wilmot said. Ventra has changed the language on its website to explain the process more clearly, Wilmot added.

Pace will hold several information sessions on Ventra in the northwest suburbs next week. Outreach activities will occur during both rush hours at: the Elgin Transportation Center, Aurora Transportation Center and Waukegan Metra station Wednesday; and Oct. 16 through 18 at the Rosemont CTA Station, Pace Schaumburg Transportation Center, Crystal Lake Metra Station and Yorktown Center in Lombard.

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