Metra riders now paying more as fare hike takes effect

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Commuters said they knew it was coming, but that doesn?t make the Metra fare increases any less painful. (WLS)

The first day of the month is also the first day of paying more to get to and from work for hundreds of thousands of people in the Chicago suburbs. A Metra fare hike went into effect Thursday morning.

This is the fourth year in a row that Metra has increased fares. The money will help cover a projected budget deficit. Needless to say, many riders are not happy about it.

Starting Thursday, the price of all one-way tickets will go up $.25. Monthly passes will go up between $9 and $12.50, depending on the zone. Weekend passes will go up from $8 to $10. The price of 10-ride tickets will increase $4.25 to $7.75 depending on the zone

The price of some reduced fare tickets and passes will also increase. The fare hikes affect nearly 300,000 people in our area.

Some were not too pleased about it at the Naperville Metra station Thursday, but say it still beats driving.

"It seems that every year the fares are going up and it's getting to a point where I am just thinking about alternate transportation because it's almost like I'm paying a car note for a train ticket," said Metra rider Derrick Neil.

"I think it's par for the course at this point I don't know if we're seeing really on our end any improvements," said Metra rider Megan Gliori.

For the riders in Naperville, back in 2014 they were paying about $163 for a monthly pass. Now, they're paying $195. This year's hike will raise about $17 million.

Many riders are complaining that service is unreliable, unaffordable and trains are overcrowded, but it beats driving.

"It's still a convenience. You know this is better in my opinion as opposed to driving and being stuck in a whole bunch of traffic," said Metra rider Brian Griffin.

The rate hikes, along with service cuts to both weekday and weekend trains come as Metra continues to struggle with a large budget gap, due in part to state funding cuts, trying to do more with less Metra is seeking customer input to redo its fare structure. Among the things they're looking at: lowering ticket prices for people who take off peak trains.

For those wanting to chime in, a series of public open houses will be held during the month of February. Customers who can't attend one of the open houses can review the recommendations and provide comments online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/MetraFares. Metra is also welcoming public comments sent to metrafarestudy@metrarr.com. For more information on the Metra fare schedule, click here.
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