Mayor defends CTA pass increases by comparing costs to the price of gas.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared in public again Monday, telling commuters that if they don’t like his proposal to increase the price of CTA passes, they can just drive to work. Under a new fare schedule introduced by CTA president Forrest Claypool, a 30-day card will increase from $86 to $100, while a seven-day pass will increase from $23 to $28.
Emanuel’s response: “Now you, as a commuter, will pick. You can either drive to work or you can take public transportation, and the standard fare will stay the same,” he said. Later, he added, “Public transportation is different from driving to work. You will make that choice.”
The mayor often takes the Brown Line to work on days he isn’t chauffeured to City Hall in an SUV, so he understands such choices. What he doesn’t seem to understand is that other Chicagoans don’t have the same choices he does. Here’s how we think the mayor might counsel his constituents on other fee increases.
- An increase in greens fees at public golf courses: As a golfer, you have a choice. You can either pay a little more for Robert Black or Billy Caldwell, or you can join a country club, where the members have a say in setting the fees.
- A 20 percent hike in gym memberships at Chicago Park District field houses: You, as a fitness buff, will pick. You can continue working out in your neighborhood, or you can join the East Bank Club.
- An increase in the price of vehicle stickers: You don’t like it? Move to Barrington Hills. A sticker is only ten bucks there.
- A half-cent hike in the city’s sales tax: Consumers are always free to shop at Old Orchard, Oak Brook Terrace, or Northbrook Court.
- A rise in the cost of school uniforms at Chicago Public Schools: Latin School, Francis Parker, Lab School, they don’t require uniforms. This is a choice parents make.
You see? It’s all a matter of priorities.