Oops! Sorry DePaul students! CTA mistakenly kills 5,000 U-Passes
A mistake by a CTA employee this week led to the cancellation of U-Pass privileges for about 5,000 DePaul students -- a third of the student population. But quick teamwork by the CTA and DePaul helped minimize the pain for students.
Here's what happened, according to Noelle Gaffney, CTA spokesperson:
The U-Pass card vendor sent DePaul its list of current students. DePaul updated the list with those who had left. The vendor then started working with the CTA to deactivate the list of students no longer attending DePaul. The problem came when a CTA staffer copied on an email mistook the original list with all student names for the edited listed of those who left, and proceeded to deactivate ALL the cards.
"It was human error and the employee faces disciplinary action," said Gaffney.
OK, mistake made, now what?
"We were in touch with DePaul immediately and they have been very helpful," said Gaffney. "They immediately sent emails to all students notifying them. We have informational signs at stations heavily used by DePaul riders and have notified the staff at stations that DePaul students who show a U-Pass card should be allowed entry. They don’t need to dip the card. We expect to have the cards reactivated by the weekend."
DePaul spokesman John Holden agrees: "After the initial incident, the CTA worked pretty expeditiously to get the problem resolved and by mid-morning they had gotten word out to all bus drivers and station agents that the passes were to be honored. It seems like it only created a minor headache for students - some of whom may have been forced to pay a cash fare for their morning ride."
Hopefully, for all students' sake, this will never happen again. And the CTA thinks it won't, juding from experience: "There are 45 schools that participate in U-Pass and the CTA goes through this verification process with each of them multiple times a year. The program started in 1998. This type of error has never happened before."