A CTA turnstile promotes the coming Ventra fare card system. The card's debit account option has sparked criticsim over its various fees.

A CTA turnstile promotes the coming Ventra fare card system. The card's debit account option has sparked criticsim over its various fees. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune / March 20, 2013)

I occasionally hear from commuters who want to know whether there are any citizens activist groups they could possibly join to establish a louder, more impactful voice resulting in public transit improvements in the Chicago region.

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of places to turn.

So it was with great enthusiasm that Tribune readers responded to Monday's Getting Around column, which mentioned a petition drive that has been started in opposition to the CTA's new Ventra fare card, particularly the fee-laden MasterCard debit account that is being offered as part of Ventra.

The petition, on www.change.org, was started by Ankit Patel, 33, a regular CTA rider.

Howard Ehrman read the column and he promptly sent the following request to many of his contacts:

"Please consider signing this new on-line petition to Stop the CTA's new Ventra Card, and then please forward this to all your co-workers, friends, neighbors and family. If you are not sure why, Ventra will make the Chicago Parking Meter Fiasco look like Kindergarten Play for all CTA Riders," Ehrman wrote.

Other readers also said they supported the petition and signed it.

Patel emailed me Monday afternoon to say the petition drive "has gone in overdrive. Thanks much!"

Now all that's needed is for the CTA to listen. Good luck with that. 

-- Jon Hilkevitch, Chicago Tribune transportation reporter