For-Profit Company Don’t Care

Chicago’s new privatized public transporation Ventra system raises costs for people who need the transit the most:

Without a reprieve, the new choices will be to buy:

  • $3 Ventra single-ride paper tickets, representing a 33 percent increase over the $2.25 fare on the CTA rail system and on buses when payment is made with cash.
  • Multiday passes, which are used far less by the agencies than are the single-ride tickets they purchase in bulk orders. (There is no price break on bulk sales, either before Ventra or currently.)
  • $5 Ventra transit smart cards, which don’t suit the needs of many of the agencies and their customers, officials said.

The shortcomings include that to receive $5 in transit credits in exchange for the $5 paid for the Ventra smart card, the user must register the card and include a permanent address, phone number and email address. It’s an unlikely scenario for many social service clients, experts said. And if cards are lost, a $5 replacement fee is charged.

Jobs agencies buy these cards and give them to people going to interviews or just starting out, before their first paychecks clear and they can buy their own cards. Raising the prices is one thing, that could have happened under the old public system, but making people register their cards in order to get the credits they’ve paid for is the onerous part.

Also, unnecessary fees:

In anticipation of the CTA transitioning fully to Ventra, some nonprofits have started buying the single-ride $3 Ventra paper tickets. The 75 cent premium over the $2.25 base fare includes a 50 cent “limited-use fee” to cover processing costs and a 25 cent transfer, regardless of whether the transfer is used within the two-hour window allowed.


2 thoughts on “For-Profit Company Don’t Care

  1. Privatization is a sensible response for a politician trying to deliver a desired service, but unable to collect the desired fees and taxes to pay for it. Bring in a private company, over-promise and under-commit, and let the private company starve the operation to profitability, eliminating jobs, services and anything else desirable to make its own internal numbers and pay the boss’s inflated salary. The politician can now say, look, we tried, it was best practice, we turned the operation over to the private sector. Meanwhile, the private sector guys can just say, what do you expect for the private sector, we’re in it for us, not you.
    Privatization, like outsourcing, seems like a sensible solution, but it has all kinds of private costs, and can destroy your political or commercial entity. (It’s not just Chicago. Look at Boeing.)

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