Since my Gapers Block piece went up Monday, the following has happened:
- Ventra mailed a card to a woman who died five years ago.
- A CTA budget hearing turned into a mass complaint session about Ventra.
- The Chicago Reporter raised questions about Cubic's military and national security intelligence ties.
- Alderman Bob Fioretti formally requested hearings to question CTA and Cubic officials.
- The system malfunctioned so badly across 60 CTA stations last night that 15,000 commuters (including yours truly) got free rides.
And today, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg quoted me in his summary of the whole farce:
“Unfortunately, Chicagoland is now only the latest in a long line of metropolitan customers dealing with problems sure to be familiar to Ventra’s legion of haters,” Jason Prechtel wrote in the Gaper’s Block website, in a detailed article on problems in Cubic cities from London to Brisbane to San Francisco.
Were these rollouts bug-infested or just the standard problems that come with any new system? Hardly matters. It’s too late. Ventra has sailed past the still-a-few-kinks-in-the-system shakedown cruise into a special realm of PR debacle hell where each tiny trouble is waved about as Exhibit #246 in the epic Ventra Catastrophe of 2013.He raised a question I asked myself, and he definitely gave the perfect answer.