DePaul students vent Ventra frustrations

“Ventra is the worst thing ever to happen to people,” wrote TheThoughtCataog.com as the sixth important thing Chicagoans will understand. Ventra woes are something many DePaul students understand as many have had problems with their new Ventra U-Pass.

Last Thursday the first floor of the Student Center at DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus was taken over by a Student Government Association event that encouraged students’ to vent their issues with Ventra by posting on to a dividing wall.

Students wrote concerns ranging from the worry that Ventra will make it harder for social service agencies to distribute single use tickets to their clients, to claims that their credit cards had been charged when tapping their card. One student bluntly wrote, “It sucks so much.”

“It’s a huge transition,” SGA president Casey Clemmons said about the transition to Ventra. “There’s expected to be problems with any transition of this size, but the problems are lasting too long.”

The event was attended by not only SGA members but members of the universities’ administration and representatives from the Chicago Transit Authority. The representatives who attended the event tried to answer as many questions as possible for students.

“I would guestimate that about half the population has had a positive experience with Ventra,” Haydee Nunez, the Director of Adult, Veteran, and Community Affairs at DePaul, said.

Complaints about the Ventra system caused one CTA rider to file a class action lawsuit against the CTA and Cubic Inc., the company contracted to implement Ventra.

It claims James Kenger, who filer of the suit, was charged twice for a single fair under the new system and then was charged $8.50 for a minute and ten seconds on the phone for what was labeled as “CTA customer call center.”

The suit calls for “all persons who have a Ventra card that is linked to an asset account, i.e. not a prepaid Ventra card,” to join the suit.

“The system is set up in such a manner that a person is unlikely to know unless you’re regularly checking your account records,” Daniel Edelman, Kenger’s attorney, said. “If you’re not careful, it’s entirely possible that you will not notice the actual activity.”

Michelle Grochocinski a secound year student at DePaul University didn’t realize Ventra charged her debit card more than $50 untill her brother, a student at University of Illinois Chicago, noticed that Ventra was charging his card.

Grochocinski has since been trying to receive a refund from Ventra.

“It’s been a series of phone transfers from my bank, resulting in canceling my debit card,” said Grochocinski. “Now I need to obtain a record of my Ventra account to prove I’ve been double-charged. Ventra’s wait times to speak to a representative over the phone are at least 30 minutes. They’re horrendous.”

While Grochoinski had not heard of Kenger’s class action suit, she said she was certainly angry enough to consider joining it.

SGA plans on taking the feedback received from students at the event on Thrusday and turning it into an online question and answer form to help students who are still facing issues.

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