Metra Votes to Fix Fare Disparity

Previous fare increase proposal was criticized for hitting city riders hardest

By Al Romero and Christian Farr
|  Friday, Oct 14, 2011  |  Updated 8:00 PM CDT
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Oct. 14, 2011: The Metra Board agreed to level its fare increase to an average of about 25 percent across all fare types -- for both Chicago riders and those in the suburbs.

Oct. 14, 2011: The Metra Board agreed to level its fare increase to an average of about 25 percent across all fare types -- for both Chicago riders and those in the suburbs.

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The Metra Board on Friday agreed to level its fare increase to an average of about 25 percent across all fare types -- for both Chicago riders and those in the suburbs.

Previously approved fare hikes in the face of Metra's nearly $65 million budget shortfall recently were criticized for hitting city riders the hardest.

Under the original plan, all fares would have gone up significantly, but monthly fares for commuters who travel from outlying city stops, particularly from the South Side, into downtown Chicago would have seen their fares increase by as much as 69 percent.

By contrast, suburban commuters who travel farther distances into the city would have only seen increases of up to 34 percent.

Metra had left the door open for tweaking the fare structures, representatives said. The Metra Board on Friday considered a new, scaled back fare structure.

The vote heads into public hearings in November before a final vote on the 2012 budget on Nov. 11. 

If approved, the fare increase will go into effect in February.

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