By Tracy Swartz
When Max Zuckert of Uptown tapped his Ventra card this week, he was surprised to see a message that his account balance was low. Zuckert said he uses a 30-day unlimited pass to pay for rides, not money on his card.
"I don't have a car. This is how I get anywhere. I'm painfully aware of the balance," Zuckert, 23, told RedEye.
The CTA is working to refine its system to let riders know they need to add money to their account or get a new unlimited pass soon, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said Thursday.
Some riders have complained on social media about the "low account balance" message that flashes on Ventra readers even though they have a 30-day unlimited pass or a U-pass, a special fare card for local college students.
"There will be more descriptive responses to customers -- that their pass is expiring, that they have a low balance," Chase said. "We have continued to change things, improve, upgrade, refine, as we've gone along. ... Look for more specific messaging to come on those readers soon."
The reason riders with unlimited ride passes and U-Passes are getting the "low balance" when they tap their cards is because there is more than one transit purse available on any Ventra account, Chase said.
Riders can pay for their rides on their Ventra through an unlimited pass and/or money on their card.
The low balance message is triggered when a rider's account balance has fallen below $10, Chase said.
"We appreciate the confusion that it could cause, and are working on refining the message that customers who use unlimited ride passes receive," Chase told RedEye.