No Metra fare increase in 2020

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Metra will not raise fares in 2020, the transportation agency announced Wednesday.

This is the second year in a row Metra has not raised their fares. The agency said it identified about $5 million in efficiencies and also expects to save $7 million by not filling vacancies and about $9 million by reducing overtime and other expenses.

The $21 million saved is expected to offset a $26 million increase in operating expenses, including about $7 million in new operating expenses associated with Positive Train Control, or PTC. The safety system is federally mandated.

Metra expects their overall operating budget to increase by $5 million in 2020, from $822 million to $827 million. The difference will be covered by higher revenues from the regional transportation sales tax, so a fare increase is unnecessary.

The agency also said that thanks to the new state capital program, it will budget $2.6 billion for capital improvements over the next five years. The improvements will prioritize railcars, locomotives, and stations, including ADA improvements, as well as bridges and service improvements.
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