Metra proposes fare increases

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Metra passengers may soon pay more to ride the train. The transportation company proposes an about two-percent fare hike in the 2016 budget.

Passengers currently pay the lowest fares of any similar-sized railroad, Metra officials said.

"This is a way of really guaranteeing for the long term that we will have a well-functioning railroad," Metra Board Chair Marty Oberman said.

Metra said they have been able to cut nearly $6 million from the budget, which allows the company to lower their proposed increase from 5-percent to about 2-percent. For a single ride that amounts to a 25 cent increase. A ten ride pass will cost $1.75 more. And a monthly pass would go up $2.50.

"I could use that money for food or school supplies," Jorge Suarez, Metra rider, said.

"It's kind of like a pay cut. I would take it as a pay cut or something that would increase, ultimately impact their bottom line, impact their family income. I think any increase is impactful," Maria Doughty, Metra rider, said.

Metra said the agency needs the increased revenue to pay for a new government mandated safety system called Positive Train Control (PTC) and to fund the capital budget. The agency needs nearly $12 billion for capital projects in the next decade.

"I think if people look at it and understand the challenges that we have, I think they will be happy we are able to contain the cost," Metra Executive Director Don Orseno said.

If approved, the fare hikes would go into effect on February 1, 2016.

METRA FARE BREAKDOWN

Metra customers who buy One-Way tickets would pay a quarter more per ticket, an increase of 2.4 percent to 7.7 percent depending on the zone. If these customers take the train 30 times a year, they will pay an additional $7.50 annually to ride Metra.

Metra customers who buy 10-Ride tickets would pay $1.75 more, or 17 cents more per trip. The increase works out to 1.9 percent to 6 percent, depending on the zone. If these customers ride the train to work about half the time, they will pay $3.50 more per month and $42 more per year.

Metra customers who buy Monthly passes will pay $2.50 more per month, an increase of 0.9 percent to 2.7 percent, depending on the zone. Assuming most of these customers use Metra to commute full-time to work each month, they will pay about 12 cents more per day and $30 more per year.

Other fare increases include an additional 75 cents on the reduced fare 10-Ride ticket and $1.25 on the reduced fare Monthly pass.
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