Metra fare increases take effect Thursday

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For the fourth year in a row, Metra is raising the cost of travel for commuters. (WLS)

For the fourth year in a row, Metra is raising the cost of travel for commuters. The increases approved last, year go into effect Thursday.

"It's a never ending struggle for everybody who has to take public transportation," complained Doriana Marquez, who alternates between using Metra and the CTA and is now paying more for both services.

Other users wonder what they're getting in exchange for the increased costs pointing to the transportation systems deficiencies.

"You use to be able to set your watch by the Chicago NW," said Evanston resident Max Shapiro. "Now they're not really on time as much as they used to be. Sometimes they're crowded."

Starting Thursday, February 1, here's what riders can expect:

  • The price of a one-way ticket will increase by 25-cents in all zones


  • The price of 10-ride tickets will increase $4.25 to $7.75 depending on the zone

  • The price of a monthly pass will increase $9 to $12.50 depending on the zone

  • Weekend passes will increase $2, from $8 to $10


  • The price of some reduced fare tickets and passes will also increase.


  • The rate hikes, along with some service cuts to both weekday and weekend trains come as the beleaguered transportation system continues to grapple with a large budget gap, due in part to state funding cuts.

    Trying to do more with less, Spokesperson Michael Gillis says Metra is seeking customer input to redo its fare structure, an effort that's been underway for a year and a half.

    "We're looking at off-peak pricing," Gillis said. "You would pay less if you're riding a train that is not in one of the peak rush hour periods. The idea behind that is if we can start to encourage people to start using those off peak trains where we have a lot of capacity, we can free some more capacity on our peak trains, which are very crowded right now in many cases. Maybe we get more people to ride overall and we increase our revenue overall." One day passes for casual users who take two or more different lines in one day and a makeover for the decades old zone system are also being considered.

    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.

In other transportation news, IDOT is holding a public meeting later Wednesday on proposed improvement along 16 miles of I-80 from Ridge Road to U.S. 30 in Grundy, Kendall and Will counties. It's from 4 to 7 p.m. at Joliet Junior College.

It will give the public a chance to see updates on the proposed project through exhibits and a video presentation and give their input and comments back to IDOT.

For more information on the I-80 improvements, visit www.I-80Will.com.
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