CTA Fares Up, but Monthly Passes See Reprieve

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2009  |  Updated 2:26 PM CDT
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CTA Fares Up, but Monthly Passes See Reprieve

Getty Images/Tim Boyle

A CTA driver collects the fare from a passenger boarding her bus.

Chicago Transit Authority riders will see higher fares with the new year: The transit agency board this afternoon approved fare hikes for 2009 but at a lower level than originally proposed.

The increase that takes effect on Jan. 1 is 5 percent less than the CTA's president requested.

Chairman Carole Brown said the board stopped short of a 20 percent increase on Thursday "to provide some relief" to customers.

The increase to the monthly pass, for example, will increase to $86 from $75 -- down from a proposed hike to $90.

Cash and transit card fare increases will remain the same as originally proposed. Rail and cash bus fares will rise to $2.25 from $2. For customers using a transit or Chicago Card, bus fares will rise to $2 from $1.75.

The discount gained from using the Chicago Card will disappear -- Chicago Card rail fares will rise to $2.25 from $1.75. The 10 percent Chicago Card bonus will be gone.

The CTA said it must raise fares to make up for higher energy costs, low tax revenues and giving free rides to seniors and the low-income disabled. The absence of a state capital bill means the agency also has to pay to keep old buses and trains in repair. 

The approved rate increase would reduce CTA's projected fare-box revenue by about $3 million. Brown said the agency will make up the difference with changes to the CTA's Supplemental Retirement Plan.

The CTA's operating budget for next year is $1.3 billion.

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