CTA proposes fare hike, job cuts

CHICAGO The Chicago Transit Authority wants to increase fares by 25 cents. If approved, the cost to ride the bus would go up to $2 and the cost to ride the train would go up to $2.25.

Last month, CTA officials said the increase was likely because of rising fuel costs and a program that allows senior citizens to ride for free.

The CTA has not raised fares in two years.

If the 2009 CTA budget is approved, some customers could be paying another $150 a year but CTA President Ron Huberman says the good news is there will not be a disruption of service. Still, the proposal is not sitting well with some customers.

"Any increase after they said they wouldn't is kind of a problem," said Granivlle Davis, CTA Rider.

The CTA plans to cut more than 600 employees from its operating budget and raise fares, but only for those who have the ability to pay -- the transit agency offers free rides to senior citizens and the disabled.

The proposal also includes eliminating the 10-percent bonus currently offered to users of the CTA Chicago Card.

Some of the Proposed Increases:

  • Full Fare Transit Card Bus Goes From 1.75 To 2.00
  • Full Fare Tc Rail Goes From 2.00 To 2.25
  • Full Fare Chicago Card Bus From 1.75 To 2.00
  • Full Fare Chicago Card Rail From 1.75 To 2.25
  • Full Fare Cash 2.00 To 2.25
  • Chicago Card Bonus From 10% To Eliminated
  • Reduced Fares Are Unchanged
"While any fare increase is incredibly difficult to put forth, we know times are difficult. We know it will cause a hardship. We simply felt we had no choice," said Ron Huberman, CTA President.

Like everyone else, the CTA says it is dealing with higher fuel costs -- up $54 million over last year. And the cost of electricity to power the rails is also going up. Adding to those rising costs is the loss of $36 million in revenue from the free rides program for seniors and the disabled.

"I wish it was more affordable, but I mean with the economy and with gas prices, it makes sense," said Harpswell Coffin, CTA Rider.

"It doesn't bother me. I will be a senior citizen in December," said Sylvester Jones, CTA Rider.

The CTA board is meeting Friday at 10 a.m. to talk about the proposals. If the 2009 budget is approved, customers will start paying more January 1.

For more on the budget, visit transitchicago.com.

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