Chicago’s Ventra capitalists

But while these privatization debacles have been hard to stomach, Ventra–the new, privatized fare collection system for transit in Chicago–has been nothing short of a complete disaster.

Unlike the old magnetic strip fare card system, Ventra requires riders to purchase a prepaid debit/credit card that doubles as a transit pass. Whereas fare collection has been under public control for the entire lifespan of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), officials recently signed a $454 million deal to turn over fare collection to Cubic Corporation, a multinational firm that, in addition to causing transit fare headaches all over the world, is also a major player in military equipment manufacturing.

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