The CTA is - shocking - actually listening to some complaints from riders and scaling back the ridiculous fees on its new, forthcoming Ventra MasterCard system. According to Jon Hilkevitch of the Tribune, who have been all over the CTA's ninja strategy for bilking riders via Ventra, the CTA will drop a $2.95 fee for reloading your Ventra card using a personal credit card and the $10-per-hour fee for resolving a fare dispute. As Hilkevitch points out, though, this is merely a drop in the fee bucket as the average rider could still pay up to $188 per year in various fees by using Ventra.
As with everything in this city (see: closures, CPS schools), the segment of the population most likely to be hampered by the new Ventra system will be poorer riders. When it's all said and done, these are the riders who will wind up paying what amounts to a fare hike without the CTA actually having raised fares. The aforementioned fees for the Ventra MasterCard us (such as $2 fee just to call for operator assistance) and the upped fare for a single-ride ticket are bad enough. This comes on top of the fact that the CTA just raised rates on the multi-day passes.
For riders to side-step these increases and fees, according to the CTA, one merely needs to use their debit or credit card, ignoring the fact that many who live in poverty don't have the same access to a debit or credit card (such as those who live paycheck to paycheck). There's also the issue of crushing debt and adding one more set of fees to a credit card. Of course, the CTA says, you don't have to use a debit card or credit card to pay for your rides. But if you do - and many who live in poverty will have to - you'll pay more, thus repeating the city's cycle of hurting those who are most in need.