Jan. 10--The CTA contractor responsible for the Ventra fare system is for the first time meeting performance requirements that will allow it to be paid and for the transit agency to start phasing out old fare cards, officials said Friday.
But neither step will be triggered until Cubic Transportation Systems Inc. meets the three specific performance standards for another month, transit officials said.
The conditions are that wait times on Ventra's customer hotline are under five minutes to speak with an operator; Ventra fare readers on buses and at rail turnstiles process transactions in 2.5 seconds or less, 99 percent of the time; and that 99 percent of Ventra equipment is functioning.
CTA president Forrest Claypool set those requirements in early November in response to what he called unacceptable customer service by Cubic and technological problems with the Ventra system that led to some Ventra customers being double-charged for fares or given free rides because Ventra card readers or computer servers failed.
So far, the CTA has not paid Cubic any money on its $454 million contract, CTA officials said.
In early October, the CTA halted the phase-out of its "legacy" fare cards -- magnetic stripe cards, Chicago Cards and Chicago Card Plus cards. No announcement has been made yet about when those cards will be discontinued. But Cubic's improved performance signals that the CTA could make that decision as early as next month.
About 75 percent of CTA rides are now paid through the Ventra system on an average day, CTA officials said Friday.
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