Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Did I just spark another Ventra scandal...in Vancouver?

I couldn't help but notice the number of news stories about the class action lawsuits against Ventra that popped up over the weekend.

Funny thing is, they were all in Vancouver outlets.

Compass Card operator faces three U.S. lawsuits - 24 Hours Vancouver
Madill said Compass also wouldn’t allow touchless credit and debit cards when first rolled out. According to Cubic’s 2011 press release announcing the contract, the system is supposed to have that capability.

But he said comparing Ventra and Compass is like comparing “an iPhone with an Android,” albeit in this case, they share the same manufacturer.

Compass isn’t without its own issues, though. Madill added some users have reported an “error message” when they try to tap and that problem is now being tweaked.

“All the experience in Chicago did was it just reinforced our approach of taking it slow and phasing it in is the best practice,” he added.
TransLink Compass card system facing questions over cost - CBC News
In its annual report, Cubic Transportation admits the 2013 fiscal year was "challenging" and "very poor." In part because of problems installing the Vancouver system, the report states, "operating margins declined due to an increase in estimated costs."

In Chicago, Cubic's Ventra card system has also had serious problems and is the subject of several class action lawsuits.

Meanwhile, the Compass card system in Vancouver is a year behind schedule with no firm start date in sight.
Company behind Translink’s upcoming Compass card target of class-action lawsuit - Global News
Chicago’s card, called “Ventra,” is similar to Compass and launched last month, Some users are alleging they have been getting double and even triple-billed when they “tap in” with the card.

Other users are having problems scanning their cards, and there are allegedly billing-method errors. In addition, users’ debit cards are accidentally being scanned instead of their Venture [sic] cards.

All these stories went up on the 10th and 11th. My story, which listed the Ventra class action lawsuits on the first page - went up on the 9th.
These stories just so happened to pop up a day or two after my Cubic legal timeline.

Coincidence? Doubtful.

As much as I was hoping to get more local pick-up, I DID write an international compare-and-contrast about a multinational corporation. A long one. One the internet kids these days would call a #deepdive.

Chicago may be too scandal-choked right now to shine (yet another) light on Ventra's origins, but leave it to the Windy City's old news to rock the boat thousands of miles away.

(for more on Ventra and Compass, click here and here)

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