Chicago Card Plus – Code: 86 (a rant)

My Chicago Card Plus keeps getting rejected at the turnstile with a message to see the attendant, Code: 86.

So tonight, I trotted over to the attendant and asked what this meant. She had to look it up in a book. Maybe they don’t get asked this very often. As it turns out, code 86 means that the card is not active. The strange thing is that nothing shows up in Google for searches about the CTA and code 86. So, this post should change that and hopefully save a few CTA employees from digging out their training manuals.

If my Chicago Card Plus is deactivated and I provide updated credit card information, will it be reactivated immediately?
No. Your Chicago Card Plus will not be available for immediate use. Once your credit card has been successfully charged for reloading purposes, your Chicago Card Plus will be available for fare payment within three business days. This information can be provided by logging on to your account at chicago-card.com or by calling 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282), TTY: 1-888-CTA-TTY1 (1-888-282-8891), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

https://www.chicago-card.com/ccplus/faq.aspx#category10

How annoying.

So I logged in and changed my fare type to the 30-day pass and gave them my credit card number. We shall see.

Update: 1.6.11

Progress. I just received this from the CTA:

Date: Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Subject: Chicago Card Plus: Card Reactivated

THIS IS AN AUTOMATED E-MAIL; PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS.

Your Chicago Card Plus (Serial Number 001075282) was previously deactivated because we were unable to reload your account. Your reloading issue has now been resolved and your card will be reactivated and should be available for use within 3 business days.

If you have any questions, please visit www.chicago-card.com or call 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Followed immediately by this email:

Date: Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Subject: Chicago Card Plus: Account Reloading

THIS IS AN AUTOMATED E-MAIL; PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS.

Your Chicago Card Plus was reloaded with the value you have pre-selected.

If you have any questions or would like to see your transaction history please log into your account at www.chicago-card.com or call 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Thank you for using Chicago Card Plus as your fare payment option

Update: 1.12.11

Check out this ridiculousness I just received from the CTA:

Date: Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM
Subject: Regarding your CTA Service Request

THIS IS AN AUTOMATED E-MAIL; PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS.

Thank you for contacting the Chicago Transit Authority.

When a card is disabled (due to insufficient funds), it takes three business days for every CTA bus and train to update, once there is a positive balance on the account and then the card can be used on the fourth business day. In this regard, your account reloaded on 1/6/11 and the card was used on 1/10/11, which is too soon. You were supposed to use the card starting 1/12/11. Since the card was used before the three business days, the enabling process was stopped. The Revenue Equipment Department has been contacted to start the enabling process again. Therefore, the card will be ready for use on Tuesday, 1/18/11.

Please do not reply directly to this e-mail message. If you have any questions, please visit www.chicago-card.com or call 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Thank you,

Customer Service

I’m pretty pissed. The CTA is scolding me for resuming use of the card too soon? It’s Wednesday the 12th now. I received the email that my card was reactivated the previous Thursday. I tried using it the following Monday morning and it worked, so I continued to use it that afternoon, Tuesday morning and afternoon, and Wednesday morning this week. Does this email mean they’re going to deactivate my card again and make me wait for six days (three business days plus the weekend) before I can resume using it? It works now! Just don’t touch anything!

I can understand that an activated/reactivated card may not work everywhere for up to three days, but why screw me over like this for using it where it does work?

I quote their web site, “Once your credit card has been successfully charged for reloading purposes, your Chicago Card Plus will be available for fare payment within three business days.” The emphasis is mine. This is exactly what I did – I used it within three business days.

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