Using data now available from the Chicago Transit Authority's latest fare transit system, officials from the agency have begun cracking down on what they say is the fraudulent use of reduced- and free-fare cards.
Roughly 1,800 fraudulently-used cars have been collected so far in five weeks of sting operations along CTA rail lines, transit officials said.
The scams -- up about 20 percent year over year -- cost the agency about $3 million in lost revenue, officials said. The scams involve friends and relatives using free senior cards and the selling of rides by people who've obtained free or discounted cards.
Officials said they plan to beef up CTA personnel and monitoring of security cameras at stations to help recover the additional 6,400 cards they estimate are still being used in a manner that's against the rules.
"We found those roughly 6,400 cards were being used an average of 10 times a day, twice a week or more," CTA spokesman Brian Steele told the Chicago Tribune. "That overwhelmingly exceeds the average normal usage of two round trips a day."
Officials said they suspected transit fraud had been widespread for years, but Ventra, fully implemented this year, provide data on usage and trip history that the magnetic stripe cards did not.