The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Students report UPass error on first day of Winter Quarter


An unknown number of students’ Ventra cards were not functional on the first day of class due to technical difficulties with the Ventra CTA pass system, a spokesman from DePaul said. Students’ complaints swamped the DePaul Twitter feed, with promises from the university that they are doing their best to solve the problem.

Bob McCormick, vice president of information systems at DePaul, said files containing the names of registered full-time students are sent to CTA before the start of each quarter so that their cards will be activated with access to unlimited CTA rides, but this December, an unknown technical difficulty resulted in some students’ Ventra cards failing to activate Jan 4.

“We don’t know the problem except that it’s on the CTA side,” McCormick said. With no control over the cards, McCormick said there is very little that DePaul can do. “So far there is no timeline for a solution.”

The university has asked CTA to reset students’ balances to offset the additional costs of getting to school, but CTA has not responded to the request, McCormick said.

There are more unknown factors than solutions, McCormick said. To be proactive about reoccurring activation issues, he said students should try to register for classes early, since only full-time registered students receive unlimited CTA rides on their Ventra card. It may take a few business days to a week for students who register late to be entered in the Ventra system.

But to many students’ frustration, this marks just another instance in a long line of issues with student Ventra cards.

“At least three or four times I’ve had an issue with my Ventra. When it’s supposed to be activated, either at the start of a quarter or even in the middle of one, it says I have insufficient funds,” sophomore Sierra Getz said. Her Ventra card was one that was most recently affected. “It always shows I have a negative balance at these times, even though there’s not a reason for that to be.”

Getz said when she reports the issues to DePaul, she is redirected to ID services and is told that she is experiencing a registration issue. Each time this costs her about $5 to $6 in CTA rides, Getz said.

“Usually I have to call Ventra and go through a process over the phone and then I talk with a CTA worker,” Getz said. This process has worked in the past, but “it just takes a lot of time and is frustrating.”

Senior Sarah Elroy lives off the Addison stop and uses the Halsted Avenue bus to get to Lincoln Park for classes.

“Last year my Ventra (card) deactivated itself, so I had to go all the way to the Ventra office to get it fixed,” Elroy said. “It’s frustrating because this seems like it’s way more difficult than it has to be.”

McCormick said that since adopting the new Ventra cards in 2013, there have “no doubt been problems.”

“To be fair, predominantly the passes work, but it is frustrating when there are issues,” McCormick said.

McCormick said there are some Ventra passes available at ID services, but he does not know how many there are and if there are enough to help the unknown amount of students affected by the activation issue.

More to Discover