CTA Board Approves Multi-Pass Fare Hike; Gives Reprieve to O'Hare Blue Line Riders

Agency's $1.39 billion for 2013 expected to bring in $56 million in new revenue

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Chicago Transit Authority board on Tuesday approved a wide-ranging hike for the price of monthly, weekly, three-day and Metra "Link-up" passes.

    But the vote on the agency's $1.39 billion budget for 2013 includes a temporary reprieve for riders who take the Blue Line from O'Hare International Airport.

    The proposal, revealed late last month, called for raising to $5 the $2.25 fare for those who depart from the airport. O'Hare employees balked at that, however, and the board on Tuesday did an about face.

    Under the new budget, only some riders will pay the full $5 fare from O'Hare. Those using a Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus will continue to pay $2.25 through at least July 1, 2013. The CTA said it was going to work with the Chicago Department of Aviation on a permanent solution to exempt employees working at the airport.

    Elsewhere on the system, base fares remain the same, but the cost for passes is going up in January.

    The price for monthly passes will increase from $86 to $100. Weekly passes increase to $28 from $23. Three-day passes are going from $14 to $20, and one-day passes will nearly double, from $5.75 to $10.

    The Metra "Link-up" Pass is going up $10, to $55, and the reduced-fare for seniors will rise to $1 from 85 cents (low-income seniors would continue to ride at no cost).

    The agency said the fare hikes will generate about $56 million in new revenue.

    But not all fares are increasing. To encourage school attendance, students currently paying $.85 per ride will get a 10 cent fare reduction.

    What does all this mean for the average rider? It could be time to assess your ridership needs, and choose the best option to stay within your transit budget. For example, if you were purchasing a monthly pass, but only using 20 days or so, purchasing a few weekly passes instead would be a better value.