How to Fix Ventra App Not Working

Ventra is the convenient fare payment system for CTA, Pace and Metra that allows customers to pay for train and bus rides throughout the Chicago area. It offers a mobile app for managing transit accounts, purchasing tickets, and tracking real-time arrival information.

With the Ventra app, users can:

  • Check balances and available passes
  • Instantly load value or passes
  • Buy and use Metra mobile tickets
  • Get real-time account notifications
  • View arrival/departure information for CTA, Metra and Pace

Recent Issues with the Ventra App

In early February 2024, the Ventra app experienced significant issues that caused headaches for many Chicago transit riders, especially Metra commuters. The problems began on February 1st, the same day Metra rolled out a new simplified fare structure that emphasized mobile ticketing.

Despite the vendor expressing confidence that the app would be fixed over the weekend, issues continued to plague users during the Monday morning rush on February 5th. Many riders reported being unable to purchase tickets, with the app declining payments and crashing repeatedly.

Metra acknowledged that the app was “not functioning as intended” and that customers were experiencing problems trying to make purchases and launch tickets. The agency worked with its vendor Cubic to resolve the technical issues, which appeared to stem from faulty programming.

How Many Users Impacted?

While the exact number is unclear, the Ventra app issues seem to have affected a significant portion of Metra’s ridership. Metra is the major commuter rail system in the Chicago metropolitan area, serving over 80 million passenger trips annually across 11 lines.

With Metra recently closing ticket windows and pushing riders to the Ventra app, even more commuters likely attempted to use mobile ticketing than usual when the problems arose. Social media posts and news reports suggest the issues were widespread, with many riders airing grievances about the faulty app.

How to Fix Ventra App Not Working

For Ventra app users still encountering problems, here are some solutions to try:

  1. Check for App Updates– Ensure you have the latest version of the Ventra app installed, as the developer may have released patches to address bugs.
  2. Restart Your Device– Power your smartphone off and on again before relaunching the Ventra app. This can sometimes resolve temporary glitches.
  3. Reinstall the App– Delete the Ventra app from your device and reinstall a fresh copy from the App Store or Google Play. You’ll need to log back into your account.
  4. Verify Payment Information– Double-check that your credit/debit card details and billing address are correct within the Ventra app. Update any expired or invalid information.
  5. Contact Customer Service– If issues persist, reach out to Ventra customer support by phone at 1-877-NOW-VENTRA (1-877-669-8368) or by email. They can provide further assistance and investigate account-specific problems.

Refunds for Failed Transactions

Some Ventra app users reported being charged multiple times for tickets they never received due to the glitches. Metra advised riders to contact their banks, as pending charges should be automatically dismissed before posting to accounts.

However, if charges do post without a corresponding ticket, Metra says to contact its passenger services at 312-696-3872 for help obtaining a refund. The agency noted that conductors were aware of the issues and accommodating riders onboard.

How to Prevent Future Failures

To avoid similar meltdowns going forward, Metra and Cubic will need to thoroughly test the Ventra app before deploying major updates, especially in conjunction with fare changes that drive more users to mobile ticketing. Robust load testing and improved quality assurance processes could help catch performance issues and programming bugs prior to release.

Reverting to older, stable versions of the software may be preferable to leaving a glitchy app in production while fixes are developed. Clearer communication to riders about service alternatives during outages is also essential. With the right investments in reliability and contingency planning, Ventra can deliver a convenient, seamless ticketing experience for Chicagoland transit riders.

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