Nearly 200 card readers for the Chicago Transit Authority's new fare-payment system failed during the Wednesday evening commute, forcing officials to provide roughly 15,000 commuters with a free ride.
Commuters began complaining via social media during the early afternoon hours that their new Ventra cards were not working. CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase confirmed the problems were first reported at about 4:30 p.m. and blamed the issue on server issues connected to the card readers.
Per the CTA, 165 ventra readers at 60 stations were affected, with readers down anywhere from 15-90 minutes. The problem was resolved after a reboot of the system, she said.
Chase says the CTA plans to bill the vendor, Cubic Transportation, for the cost of the estimated 15,000 free rides they were forced to give away.
An Instagram video posted by the Chicago Sun-Times (below) shows CTA workers waving Ventra card holders through because of the non-working card readers.
The Ventra card system has been beset by problems ever since it rolled out this past summer, including reports of poor customer service, activation issues, card-reading problems and overcharged cards.
An earlier deadline to discontinue the Chicago Card on Nov. 15 was extended.
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