Uggh... Much as I love the idea of ticket vending machines, we seem to brutally f****up the concept here in Chicago.
First, you have Ventra. "Ventra" is the worst dumbest most awful farecard system I've ever seen. For some reason I can't store my credit card so I have to go to Walgreens every few weeks and recharge. It also doesn't scan very well. It's also a debit card, because hey, let's give 'em another way to steal my identity. Nevermind that Chicago Card worked great, they "aren't making them anymore" according to the CTA, despite the same system still in use in Washington DC. Asses...
Then you have the Metra ticket vending machines. Usually they're out of order or out of ticket stock, leading you to wait in a mammoth line, give up when your train is about to leave, and pay the $3 penalty on board. Last week I got a talking-to from the conductor. When I told him it was pay $3 and be on time for dinner or save $3 and miss my train (and dinner with my SO and her parents...) I figured it was quite a bargain for peace of mind. TLDR: Metra vending machines suck almost as much as Ventra.
As for Metra engineer pay, I'm curious what a class I engineer would make given the same set of hours and cost of living. That might draw a better picture of the pay parity.
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