CTA cracks down on U-Pass misuse

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A CTA U-Pass for college students. (DePaulia File)

A CTA U-Pass for college students. (DePaulia File)

Officers at the Fullerton ‘L’ stop continued to check U-Passes in an effort to stop fraud that began before the new year.

In an email to students, the DePaul U-Pass Team stated their support for the new program and said that misuse of the U-Pass, or use of the card by someone other than the cardholder would result in “confiscation” and “suspension of the students participation” for up to a year.

“The U-Pass discount fare program from the CTA is a value for our students, many of whom save hundreds of dollars a year with the card,” Bob McCormick, vice president for Information Services with the DePaul U-Pass Team said. “We understand the economic realities, but, according to the terms of use, if someone other than the eligible cardholder is using the U-Pass, the card will be confiscated.”

While students understand the importance of reducing fraud, and stopping the use of stolen cards, the use of U-Passes between friends is an entirely different matter, one that the new policy is also eradicating. While a lost or stolen U-Pass should be reported, the issue does not directly confront the issue of sharing U-Passes which, while violating the terms of use, does not seem like such a pressing issue to students.

“I think it’s fine if you’re letting your friends use them,” said Amanda Leichliter, who said the new policy has made her late for class on a few occasions. “I think there are other problems they should consider instead of just trying to make money.”

Those who have had their cards stolen in the past say that reporting the card as stolen to Ventra and ID services, and trying to get the problem figured out, was a headache.

According to Gabi Marsh, who is currently going through the process of getting a new U-Pass and calls the U-Pass checks “unneccesasary,” she is being sent back and forth between Ventra’s customer services and ID services.

“Having to deal with them is frustrating and they both need to communicate better,” Leichliter said. “Going back and forth between the two offices is aggravating.”

U-Pass checks will continue at the Fullerton stop, but those whose cards are stolen or lost are encouraged to quickly report to the ID-Card office to assist against fraud protection, according to McCormick.