Metra fares to go up Wednesday

February 1, 2012 4:57:50 AM PST
If you rely on Metra to get to work, the cost of your commute is going up.

Metra riders will have an average 30-percent increase in what they pay.

Metra officials say this hike is a better alternative to cutting services, and while many riders may understand that, still a lot are not happy about having to dig deeper into their wallets.

"I adjusted slightly what I would be doing taking the Metra lines. I got a 10-ride instead of the monthlong pass just to try to accommodate. It is quite a hike," said Metra rider Simone Leduc.

Ridership is expected to remain high because many passengers feel like they have no choice.

"It is better than driving, yeah, and then having to park, yeah. It's better," said rider Karen Amazigo.

Metra is increasing ticket prices as much as a 35 percent, though they say the overall average is 25 percent. The agency had to close a budget gap of more than $50 million, and the board voted against drawing more money from capital funds, which are used for maintenance and improvements to equipment. A spokesperson says Metra polled riders, who preferred raising fares to cutting services.

"They have been putting them off for a long time. I'm not sure this is the only way to do it, but you got to do it," said rider Rick Williams.

The last major fare increase by Metra was a 10-percent increase in 2008. Before that, it was a 5-percent increase in 2006.