Credit card fraud prompts halt to some Metra ticket machine sales

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CHICAGO — Metra will halt sales of monthly passes and 10-Ride tickets from vending machines on its Electric line serving Chicago’s South Side because of an uptick in fraudulent purchases with stolen credit cards.

The action, announced Wednesday by Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski at the agency’s board of directors meeting, will go into effect June 20 at 15 outlying stations on the line. The machines will continue to sell one-way tickets.

Customers will still be able to buy tickets from agents or machines at five downtown Chicago stations or via the Ventra mobile ticket app. Metra said customers traveling downtown can apply the cost of a one-way ticket from an outlying station to the purchase of a monthly pass or 10-Ride.

Derwinski said Metra has notified Chicago aldermen representing Electric line wards about the decision, and was alerting customers aboard trains.

“We are sorry we need to take this step and inconvenience our customers, but we hope they understand that we are trying to eliminate a practice that is costing us money,” Derwinski said in a statement. “By removing these tickets from the vending machines, we are removing a reason why criminals come to our stations, thereby making the stations safer.”

Metra said it has already started the process of procuring new machines with more modern security features, and when that procurement is complete, it will assess whether to resume sales of monthly passes and 10-Ride tickets from the Electric line stations.

The Electric is the only line in the Metra system that has vending machines instead of ticket agents at outlying stations, because the stations were built without ticket agent spaces by Illinois Central before Metra purchased the line in 1987, the agency said.

Metra said there has been an increase in the number of monthly passes and 10-ride tickets being purchased with stolen credit cards from those unattended machines.

There is a double cost to Metra when this happens because the agency is responsible for the fraudulent charges and because it is losing legitimate sales to customers who are buying the fraudulently purchased tickets, the agency said.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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