Busjack

Ventra - Bugs, Feedback, and Questions

1481 posts in this topic

The news today is that the Cubic issued open fare card for CTA/Pace will be called Ventra. Tribune story.

 

I guess they had to call it something that rhymed with Metra, even though, despite what Pace says, Metra isn't "on board," and is getting a couple of ICE grants to figure out what to do (planning grant; conductor hand held device).

 

Update: The Sun-Times has more detail, including the lame rationale for the name.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw mention of this on the CTA website. They mentioned it about becoming available on CTA and Pace starting next summer and would be replacing the fare structures on both systems in 2014. I wonder about the statement CTA gives in announcing the Ventra cards that the cards makes it possible to board transit throughout the entire region if Metra is not going to take part in this. We all know that in some parts of the region, the only transit is Metra.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw mention of this on the CTA website. They mentioned it about becoming available on CTA and Pace starting next summer and would be replacing the fare structures on both systems in 2014. I wonder about the statement CTA gives in announcing the Ventra cards that the cards makes it possible to board transit throughout the entire region if Metra is not going to take part in this. We all know that in some parts of the region, the only transit is Metra.

Website link, and embedded site.

Technically speaking, though, anything with the correct chip will let you board any transit, or get a burger at McDonald's, including the Ventra card. All the Ventra card is is a prepaid proximity card issued with the CTA/Pace brand on it. It isn't any different than any other bank prepaid card (think Walmart), except that some bank behind Cubic processes the transactions.

The one thing that may be relevant is where transit benefits and half fares are recognized, so that you can't spend you transit benefits at Starbucks. Otherwise, my ATM card should work without regard to whether it was issued by Cubic.

The other ambiguity that you might have pointed out in my prior statement is that while Metra has to take any open fare card, including my ATM card and Ventra, Metra is not, like Pace assumed, just signing onto the Cubic-CTA contract.

Update: Based on the right column of the Details Page, this isn't any different from buying a reloadable card at Walmart, except the fees probably will be less.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The one thing that may be relevant is where transit benefits and half fares are recognized, so that you can't spend you transit benefits at Starbucks.

Reduced fare riders will be issued special cards that will function only for transit purposes.

Specifics haven't been discussed regarding the tax-free transit benefit program, but I'd imagine it won't be much different from Chicago Card Plus where the employer sends funds to a specific card number. Since the Ventra cards will have two different "purses" (one for transit and another for general retail purchases), money added for transit via a benefit program or other means would not be available for other uses.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reduced fare riders will be issued special cards that will function only for transit purposes.

Specifics haven't been discussed regarding the tax-free transit benefit program, but I'd imagine it won't be much different from Chicago Card Plus where the employer sends funds to a specific card number. Since the Ventra cards will have two different "purses" ( one for transit and another for general retail purchases), money added for transit via a benefit program or other means would not be available for other uses.

I figured as much.

Again, the ambiguity may be that Metra would have to recognize the card that has the "transit purse," but I guess not necessarily with Cubic equipment.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reduced fare riders will be issued special cards that will function only for transit purposes.

Specifics haven't been discussed regarding the tax-free transit benefit program, but I'd imagine it won't be much different from Chicago Card Plus where the employer sends funds to a specific card number. Since the Ventra cards will have two different "purses" (one for transit and another for general retail purchases), money added for transit via a benefit program or other means would not be available for other uses.

In the sense that it would be similar to Chicago Card Plus in some ways, would there be possibilities for it to have that option to function as a 30 day pass as the Chicago Card Plus does depending on the owner's riding needs and patterns?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at the main page about Ventra on the CTA Website (Link), these quotes have me thinking about the fare system following introduction...

We'll continue offering special fares and multi-day passes, including 30-Day and 7-Day Passes, and will still accept cash on buses.

Ventra will be available to all CTA riders and on Pace’s fixed route buses in the summer of 2013. Ventra will replace CTA and Pace’s existing fare systems in 2014.

Does this mean that come 2014, there won't be anymore unlimited ride passes(1, 3, 7 and 30-Day Passes), and if so, will the Ventra be offered in some sort of unlimited ride capacity for a period of time? I, for one like the unlimited ride passes, as you buy it, put it in the farebox/turnstile and don't have to worry about being low on money or out of money when you board the bus or enter the rail station... all you have to know is what date and time the pass expires.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the sense that it would be similar to Chicago Card Plus in some ways, would there be possibilities for it to have that option to function as a 30 day pass as the Chicago Card Plus does depending on the owner's riding needs and patterns?

Yes, you'll be able to add a 7-day or 30-day pass to a Ventra card (or your own contactless card) at vending machines or online.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at the main page about Ventra on the CTA Website (Link), these quotes have me thinking about the fare system following introduction...

We'll continue offering special fares and multi-day passes, including 30-Day and 7-Day Passes, and will still accept cash on buses.

Ventra will be available to all CTA riders and on Pace’s fixed route buses in the summer of 2013. Ventra will replace CTA and Pace’s existing fare systems in 2014.

Does this mean that come 2014, there won't be anymore unlimited ride passes(1, 3, 7 and 30-Day Passes), and if so, will the Ventra be offered in some sort of unlimited ride capacity for a period of time? I, for one like the unlimited ride passes, as you buy it, put it in the farebox/turnstile and don't have to worry about being low on money or out of money when you board the bus or enter the rail station... all you have to know is what date and time the pass expires.

Unlimited ride passes will continue to be available for 1 day, 7 days, or 30 days. Not sure about 3 days, as that hasn't been mentioned anywhere.

From what I understand, 7-day and 30-day passes will be available on Ventra Cards or your own contactless credit/debit card. For a 1-day pass or single ride, you'll be able to get a Ventra ticket at a vending machine. The tickets, while probably flimsier like a magnetic stripe card, will still use contactless technology and therefore not require any insertion.

One major benefit of Ventra is that almost all entry will be contactless, so bus boarding times should improve.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Kevin. I currently have a contactless debit card through my bank, so this would definitely make things easier for me than remembering to get to a Jewel, Walgreen's, CVS, etc. to buy a new pass.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found an article in BusRide Magazine pertaining to Utah's transit system. They are or have introduced distance based fare system that can be electronically collected. I wonder if Metra could use this type of system, or if Cubic has a system that could do this. The only question is how to integrate that with a fixed fare system like CTA and Pace?

http://busride.com/2012/10/distance-based-fares-change-the-game/

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found an article in BusRide Magazine pertaining to Utah's transit system. They are or have introduced distance based fare system that can be electronically collected. I wonder if Metra could use this type of system, or if Cubic has a system that could do this. The only question is how to integrate that with a fixed fare system like CTA and Pace?

http://busride.com/2...hange-the-game/

The question is that since this is a "tap on tap off" system. how you enforce the "tap off" on Metra. The way they used to have on the IC/ME is that you had to go through the out fare barrier, but those have been removed.

I suppose that this could be enforced by making certain assumptions, such as that unless you tap off inbound, it charges you for going downtown, and outbound that are are going to Zone J (assuming that the conductor reads it after you board and sets it for inbound or outbound). However, even at that, the diesel lines usually dump the passengers at street level, and instead of just going to the parking lot or walking to the bus stop, the passengers would presumably have to make a detour to the station to tap out, or would have to tap out before deboarding, and thus increase dwell time at each station.

Anyway, Metra got an ICE grant to have some consultant figure this out.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps an "open" system as the tollways use? At the edge of the platforms, a series of posts could be installed, perhaps every 10 feet or so, that read the cards similar to how the iPass cards are read.

I've often thought of systems such as this in other places. Would love an open checkout system at the grocery store: Just push the cart right out the door, it would read an RFID chip or similar on each item's packaging, total the amount, and walk past a card reader with a credit/debit card.

Given how much I detest the checkout lanes, I'd love that!

Back to the topic, this would read passengers getting on the train, then getting off, and figure the distance traveled between point of boarding and deboarding, and deduct the amount automatically.

Much as the iPass works, a notice could be sent, either by text to a cell phone, or by email (Perhaps also postal mail for some), if the card did not have the amount of fare already on it. If the field of readability is wide enough, dodging the electronic gates would be nearly impossible.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps an "open" system as the tollways use? At the edge of the platforms, a series of posts could be installed, perhaps every 10 feet or so, that read the cards similar to how the iPass cards are read...

Much as the iPass works, a notice could be sent, either by text to a cell phone, or by email (Perhaps also postal mail for some), if the card did not have the amount of fare already on it. If the field of readability is wide enough, dodging the electronic gates would be nearly impossible.

The electronic gates point is defeated by the point I made earlier--on a diesel line there is no way to force people through a gate, especially where the train stops across a road (such as the NB train at Shermer Road).

It is about the same as putting up an iPass gate on Grand Ave. near Gurnee Mills--no way to keep a driver from using Dilley's Road to Stearns School road to bypass the iPass gate. Unlike the Milwaukee Plank Road, tollways work now only because they are controlled access.

Potentially there could be an iPass gate on the train door, but then it probably would set off every proximity card in someone's wallet. Then you might get charged for a ride on your Chase card, 5/3 Card, etc.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps an "open" system as the tollways use? At the edge of the platforms, a series of posts could be installed, perhaps every 10 feet or so, that read the cards similar to how the iPass cards are read.

The radio chips in contactless credit cards have a very limited range. This would preclude use of an "open" system.

Regarding the presence of multiple contactless cards in a wallet, contactless payment readers typically have collision prevention that detects this scenario and will display an error message. Those who currently leave their Chicago Card in their wallet when paying may be unable to do the same with Ventra if they're carrying more than one contactless credit card.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vending machine installation has begun.

[tweet http://twitter.com/cta/status/261158284533313537]

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I can report that Ventra units have begun to appear on NF 1000s assigned to 74th garage. 1752 which was on the 49 early this morning as one of the final overnight cars and 1135 operating on the 9 in the early afternoon both had them. They are located on the yellow bars at the front of the bus to the left (as view from the inside) of the run number box. After seeing where to look every 74th garage 1000 I saw in service today had one installed.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I can report that Ventra units have begun to appear on NF 1000s assigned to 74th garage. 1752 which was on the 49 early this morning as one of the final overnight cars and 1135 operating on the 9 in the early afternoon both had them. They are located on the yellow bars at the front of the bus to the left (as view from the inside) of the run number box. After seeing where to look every 74th garage 1000 I saw in service today had one installed.

Looks like selected turnstyles are getting Ventra now. There appears to be one I saw at Oakton - Skokie on the Yellow line, but it's just one turnstyle. The Ventra is on top of the turnstyle right in front of where the transit pass slot is.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forest glen is starting to get the ventra on there buses now, but it doesn't seem to be that quick of a rollout. I've only seen those on Novas so far. I've been told that CTA is installing a startup key mechanism as part of this installation. (just like a car, not yet in service) Operators will be issued keys to have in there personal possession. Almost sounds like the keys the rail operators have but smaller. I guess this is there solution to a regular citizen taking the bus out and impersonating operators. I can't help but wonder what will happen when the keys get lost. They may end up with the same problem. They could solve that however if it is a digital key assigned to an operators badge. Then they'd know whose's key it is or it can be deactivated if the operator is terminated or quits/retires. Or if not I don't see why they just wouldn't have the operators turn in the keys at the end of the run.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forest glen is starting to get the ventra on there buses now, but it doesn't seem to be that quick of a rollout. I've only seen those on Novas so far. I've been told that CTA is installing a startup key mechanism as part of this installation. (just like a car, not yet in service) ...

Which raises the question, does anyone know what a Ventra machine on a bus does? Is it just a smart card reader, or, as implied above, has other functions?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which raises the question, does anyone know what a Ventra machine on a bus does? Is it just a smart card reader, or, as implied above, has other functions?

I don't think that has anything to do with Ventra. The Ventra is installed on the yellow bar. There is an additional screen mounted above where they receive the text messages both items are on a driver's right hand side. Nothing yet is connected to the power supply so you can't really see how it works. It's just there for now. This key I mentioned is going to be on the lower left side of the console/steering wheel. It's just a hole, I'm assuming that you stick a plastic key pass into the hole to start the bus. So far I've only seen this on a couple buses at FG. (There's one on #6812) Installation is just starting.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forest glen is starting to get the ventra on there buses now, but it doesn't seem to be that quick of a rollout. I've only seen those on Novas so far. I've been told that CTA is installing a startup key mechanism as part of this installation. (just like a car, not yet in service) Operators will be issued keys to have in there personal possession. Almost sounds like the keys the rail operators have but smaller. I guess this is there solution to a regular citizen taking the bus out and impersonating operators. I can't help but wonder what will happen when the keys get lost. They may end up with the same problem. They could solve that however if it is a digital key assigned to an operators badge. Then they'd know whose's key it is or it can be deactivated if the operator is terminated or quits/retires. Or if not I don't see why they just wouldn't have the operators turn in the keys at the end of the run.

What's interesting is that the buses at FG that have Ventra units so far are Novas while 74th has them only on select 1000s so far. I haven't seen them in place yet on any Novas at 74th.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's interesting is that the buses at FG that have Ventra units so far are Novas while 74th has them only on select 1000s so far. I haven't seen them in place yet on any Novas at 74th.

They are starting to appear on NF's. #1236 has one. The Ventra on NF's, or at least that one, has it mounted on the yellow bar, but almost all the way to the front door, where the Novas were in front of the farebox on the bar. Some operators were saying "I wonder how there going to open/close the sneeze guard on the NF's?" The Ventra was in the way (in the Nova config.) I guess this is the solution. I don't know how the 74th ones are set up. I forgot to mention before, as part of the installation now the surveillance system will be able to hear what's going on in the driver's area. Before they could only do that on the NF's, not the Novas. I wonder if the 77th novas will get this, very soon alot of those should retire. I was thinking with the 100 bus order 77th could retire all the #6400's and only have the #6800's.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are starting to appear on NF's. #1236 has one. The Ventra on NF's, or at least that one, has it mounted on the yellow bar, but almost all the way to the front door, where the Novas were in front of the farebox on the bar. Some operators were saying "I wonder how there going to open/close the sneeze guard on the NF's?" The Ventra was in the way (in the Nova config.) I guess this is the solution. I don't know how the 74th ones are set up. I forgot to mention before, as part of the installation now the surveillance system will be able to hear what's going on in the driver's area. Before they could only do that on the NF's, not the Novas. I wonder if the 77th novas will get this, very soon alot of those should retire. I was thinking with the 100 bus order 77th could retire all the #6400's and only have the #6800's.

On the 74th NFs, they're placed on the yellow bar just to the left side (as seen from inside looking forward) of the run number box.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Add North Park to the list of garages that have buses with Ventra units now. Buses 1397, 4109 and 4133 have them now. I saw the units on them today. They're the only NP buses I've seen so far that have them.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now