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ardecila Nov 8, 2013 6:31 PM

I'm cautious, but this could be huge.

Quote:

Metra planning to use Ventra by summer 2014
By: Igor Studenkov | For Sun-Times Media | @istudenkov


Metra will launch a pilot program in August 2014. Ventra will be accepted on three lines by the end of 2014, and over the entire system by the end of the first quarter of 2015.

Acording to Gillis, Metra hasn’t yet decided while line will be used for the pilot program — and which lines will start accepting Ventra first.

There is also the matter of transfers. Gillis said that the Metra doesn’t plan to change inner-system transfers, but it will work with CTA and Pace to allow people to transfer between the three systems.

“We want riders to be able to take a Pace bus to a Metra station and transfer, or to get off downtown and transfer to a CTA bus,” said Gillis.

But actually making it happen will require a few steps. According to the timeline unveiled at the board meeting, Metra will be developing inter-governmental agreements with CTA and Pace over the next few months, adopting them by February 2014. It will then spent the next few months putting rules, procedures and infrastructure for Ventra cards processing in place.
Given the quick timeline, I'm betting that they will issue conductors a handheld card reader that prints a ticket receipt, rather than the tap-in tap-out system used on Caltrain. Hopefully we can move toward that system over time, as it saves valuable conductor time, but it will require extensive equipment installation across all 241 stations, including (eventually) TVMs like those at CTA stations.

the urban politician Nov 8, 2013 6:44 PM

^ That alone would encourage me to visit the city by Metra instead of automobile.

And I don't work downtown, I only visit for leisure.

CTA Gray Line Nov 8, 2013 10:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6332222)
I'm cautious, but this could be huge.



Given the quick timeline, I'm betting that they will issue conductors a handheld card reader that prints a ticket receipt, rather than the tap-in tap-out system used on Caltrain. Hopefully we can move toward that system over time, as it saves valuable conductor time, but it will require extensive equipment installation across all 241 stations, including (eventually) TVMs like those at CTA stations.

How about off-train fare collection, and more frequent headways on the in-city routes of the Electric District? Utilizing the same Turnstyles and TVM's as on the 'L'.

ardecila Nov 8, 2013 10:35 PM

Turnstiles and fare control will require huge investments and a radical change in how Metra operates, and how Metra stations fit into communities. The only solution Metra can bring online by next summer is a handheld reader system.

However, I expect Metra to gradually add TVMs at busy stations so that riders can add money to Ventra cards. I expect them to focus on busy, unmanned stations like Ravenswood and Clybourn first. They may eventually install the tap-in, tap-out kiosks like Caltrain or GO Train uses, but they need the handheld readers so they can accept Ventra in the meantime.

CTA Gray Line Nov 8, 2013 10:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 6332567)
Turnstiles and fare control will require huge investments and a radical change in how Metra operates, and how Metra stations fit into communities. The only solution Metra can bring online by next summer is a handheld reader system.

However, I expect Metra to gradually add TVMs at busy stations so that riders can add money to Ventra cards. I expect them to focus on busy, unmanned stations like Ravenswood and Clybourn first. They may eventually install the tap-in, tap-out kiosks like Caltrain or GO Train uses, but they need the handheld readers so they can accept Ventra in the meantime.

I meant turnstyles (and more frequent service) ONLY for the in-city Electric District services (i.e.: the Gray Line); MED University Park, and ALL the Diesel lines would have the card reader - tap in/tap out systems currently being discussed.

Another ATA Member gave me a great idea, in the near future I am going to be running Radio Ads for the Gray Line (cheap @ $75 per month) -- that will reach a huge audience, and hopefully gain it some public support and momentum.

ardecila Nov 14, 2013 4:06 AM

This doesn't make me optimistic...

Quote:

GREG HINZ ON POLITICS
No one's driving the Union Station rebuild train
November 13, 2013


Chicago's Union Station no longer works, and needs to be redesigned.

Somewhat to my surprise, Howard Learner, head of the Environmental Law & Policy Center and the the grandfather of the local high-speed rail movement, says funding the Union Station job is his top priority right now — even before more money for fast-rail lines to St. Louis, Detroit, Minneapolis or wherever.

Mr. Learner is quite hopeful that, if Mr. Emanuel gets on board, he'll work with owner powerful Illinoisans in Washington to deliver some good things for President Barack Obama's home town as he near the end of his tenure.

But though Team Emanuel is listening, it does not appear to be aboard this train, at least not yet. I checked with three different insiders and was told the same thing from all of them: the mayor has not yet decided to make this a top priority over, say, the extension of the CTA's Red Line south to the city limits.

This would seem to be a project that could pick up a huge head of steam if someone in a leadership position decides to drive the train. As of yet, that hasn't happened.

k1052 Nov 14, 2013 1:45 PM

I imagine his unwillingness to publicly kill the Red Line extension yet is political rather than practical. With the $240M rebuild/expansion of the 95th St. terminal following the total line rebuild I can't see the extension getting built. Other major CTA projects like RPM or a Forrest Park line rebuild will move up the list.

Hopefully he will at least get on board for interim and related improvements for Union Station. Ripping out most of the crap in the concourse, redoing some of the access points, moving everything humanly possible to the great hall, and doing the 75th st CIP to shift Southwest Service to LaSalle would at least by some time.

ardecila Nov 14, 2013 3:25 PM

Yeah, I definitely think Rahm revealed his intentions when CTA unveiled the 95th St plan. The stated rationale for the extension was bus congestion at 95th, but you don't need a rail extension to fix that. Rahm could even spend a few hundred million on BRT lines feeding into 95th and still come out way ahead of the Red Line extension.

I think Emanuel needs to build some more goodwill in the black community before he drops the bomb about the Red Line extension, though. He's not faring well after the school closure debacle.

Baronvonellis Nov 17, 2013 6:32 PM

Anyone who uses CTA frequently do you know if you can currently use a contactless credit card such as a Chase card to pay for the train? So, if I had one I wouldn't need the ventra card?

Justin_Chicago Nov 17, 2013 10:23 PM

Yes, but you are charged the normal $2.25 per ride. A $100 monthly unlimited Ventra card is worth it if you ride the CTA on a daily basis.

Rizzo Nov 18, 2013 2:59 AM

If there's one thing I do like about the new Ventra card (and there's definitely not many) is that you can go negative on your balance if you have insufficient funds to cover fare for that trip.

N830MH Nov 18, 2013 4:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago (Post 6342935)
Yes, but you are charged the normal $2.25 per ride. A $100 monthly unlimited Ventra card is worth it if you ride the CTA on a daily basis.

Is that all-day pass? I think they still have it or not. I am not quite sure about that.

Mr Downtown Nov 18, 2013 1:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hayward (Post 6343101)
If there's one thing I do like about the new Ventra card (and there's definitely not many) is that you can go negative on your balance if you have insufficient funds to cover fare for that trip.

That was also true of the Chicago Card.

Justin_Chicago Nov 18, 2013 1:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by N830MH (Post 6343168)
Is that all-day pass? I think they still have it or not. I am not quite sure about that.

It is $2.25 per trip. Or you can buy weekly or monthly unlimited passes ($100). I am not sure if Ventra sells unlimited daily passes.

zolk Nov 18, 2013 3:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baronvonellis (Post 6342770)
Anyone who uses CTA frequently do you know if you can currently use a contactless credit card such as a Chase card to pay for the train? So, if I had one I wouldn't need the ventra card?

Yes. For the best price, stop by a Ventra vending machine to add fare value or a pass to your card. (You can pay for the value or pass using cash, the same contactless card, or another credit card.)

If you don't first add value or a pass, you will be charged a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) fare of $2.25 per ride with no transfers.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justin_Chicago (Post 6343327)
It is $2.25 per trip. Or you can buy weekly or monthly unlimited passes ($100). I am not sure if Ventra sells unlimited daily passes.

1-day and 3-day passes are also available. You can add any pass to a Ventra card or contactless credit card. For 1-day passes, you can also purchase a 1-day disposable Ventra ticket.

Baronvonellis Nov 18, 2013 8:04 PM

I only ride the CTA about 20 times a year, so I was hoping to save space in my wallet. Is the only difference if you are using pay-as-you-go is you can't get credited for transfers with a credit card? Even after reading the ventra website it's still confusing, and the ventra website says using a credit card is coming soon.

Quote:

Originally Posted by zolk (Post 6343374)
Yes. For the best price, stop by a Ventra vending machine to add fare value or a pass to your card. (You can pay for the value or pass using cash, the same contactless card, or another credit card.)

If you don't first add value or a pass, you will be charged a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) fare of $2.25 per ride with no transfers.



1-day and 3-day passes are also available. You can add any pass to a Ventra card or contactless credit card. For 1-day passes, you can also purchase a 1-day disposable Ventra ticket.


zolk Nov 18, 2013 11:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baronvonellis (Post 6343735)
I only ride the CTA about 20 times a year, so I was hoping to save space in my wallet. Is the only difference if you are using pay-as-you-go is you can't get credited for transfers with a credit card? Even after reading the ventra website it's still confusing, and the ventra website says using a credit card is coming soon.

With pay-as-you-go, there are no transfers and you pay a fare of $2.25 for each tap on rail and buses (with fare value, buses are only $2).

The ability to add value and passes to your contactless bank card is not yet available online, but you can still do this today at vending machines. Adding value or a pass will give you regular fares with transfers.

Baronvonellis Nov 19, 2013 2:05 AM

Which contactless bank card do you mean? Because Ventra is a contactless bank card as well. What do they mean add value to your own bank card? Who stores that information, the bank? Or CTA? I'd just like to get charged on my Chase credit card for when I use the CTA, and not have to worry about adding value every so often.

Quote:

Originally Posted by zolk (Post 6344005)
With pay-as-you-go, there are no transfers and you pay a fare of $2.25 for each tap on rail and buses (with fare value, buses are only $2).

The ability to add value and passes to your contactless bank card is not yet available online, but you can still do this today at vending machines. Adding value or a pass will give you regular fares with transfers.


Chi-Sky21 Nov 19, 2013 4:05 PM

Good news for the Red Line!

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,7074567.story

Vlajos Nov 19, 2013 5:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chi-Sky21 (Post 6344676)

Wow, great news!


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