CITY HALL — A City Council maverick has formally requested hearings on the Chicago Transit Authority's much-maligned new Ventra system.
Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) put forth a resolution Wednesday calling for the Transportation Committee to summon CTA officials and Ventra's corporate owners, Cubic Transportation Systems, for questioning.
He submitted the resolution at the same contentious City Council session in which his proposal to audit tax development funds for redistribution to Chicago Public Schools was being dismissed by a 36-11 vote.
Yet Fioretti said Thursday there's much more widespread support in the council for Ventra hearings. "All of us have heard from our constituents on the problems related to Ventra," he added.
Coincidentally, he was also submitting the proposal just as Ventra was about to have new problems with turnstile card readers at the evening rush hour Wednesday. "I didn't plan it that there was going to be a meltdown," Fioretti said.
Yet, after the CTA and Cubic had worked to assure Chicagoans the system was working and improving, the new problems only spurred the calls for more accountability.
Fioretti said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), chairman of the Transportation Committee, was out of town this week and did not attend Wednesday's council session, but that Beale supports the hearings.
"The week before, when I told him I was going to be introducing it, he said, 'OK, we'll get it taken care of, we'll have hearings right away,'" Fioretti said, adding, "I hope we can have hearings next week on it."
The resolution calls for hearings to investigate problems with the Ventra cards and also establish a set timeline for the complete transition to Ventra.
"Hear the problems, and try to get some solutions," Fioretti said, adding that, if the problems prove too extensive, the hearing might also explore "scrapping the system."