CTA needs to fix faulty kiosks

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - PERSPECTIV­E - — James C. Sch­wab, ur­ban plan­ner, Chicago

The Western Blue Line sta­tion on the O’Hare leg was mod­ern­ized a few years ago and is phys­i­cally one of the newer sta­tions in the CTA sys­tem. The only prob­lem is that CTA is not en­sur­ing that the Ven­tra kiosks ac­tu­ally work. My wife had tried to add money to our grand­son’s stu­dent fare card and re­ported she had trou­ble do­ing so. I walked over to see for my­self, think­ing maybe she had made a mis­take. I tried two ma­chines, us­ing three dif­fer­ent credit and debit cards, and the ma­chines re­jected ev­ery­thing. Fi­nally, I in­serted a $20 bill, and the ma­chine ac­cepted pay­ment. But many peo­ple may not have cash on hand, and such mal­func­tion­ing ma­chines can be a se­ri­ous im­ped­i­ment to us­ing the sys­tem. I have my own Ven­tra card on aut­ofill, so I avoid such a frus­trat­ing fi­asco, but, as noted, my grand­son has a stu­dent card. And it should not be so dif­fi­cult.

The CTA for years seems to have been good at gin­ning up new pay­ment de­vices, but un­til it de­cides to make the ma­chines work prop­erly, one has to credit the agency with lousy ex­e­cu­tion. The fact that I ex­pe­ri­enced this a few days af­ter my wife en­coun­tered this prob­lem sug­gests no one is pay­ing at­ten­tion. It is un­clear if any­one at the CTA would pay at­ten­tion if I filed a com­plaint on­line. Is this how we want to en­cour­age peo­ple to use tran­sit?

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