You could be paying more and served less if Metra’s proposed 2018 budget is approved, the transit agency announced Friday.
Metra hs proposed budget of $797.2 million that includes fare increases and cuts in service in order to close a $45 million budget deficit caused by rising expenses, a reduction in state aid and disappointing sales tax revenues, the agency said in a news release.
“The current situation is unsustainable, and threatens the future viability of the important service Metra provides,” said Metra Chairman Norman Carlson. “With the proper amount of sustained public investment, we can create a system with a long and bright future. It is clearly in the interest of the citizens of northeast Illinois for Metra to do so.”
Metra is proposing a combination of fare increases and cuts in expenses, including cutting a small number of trains, to close the budget gap. Under the budget proposal:
• The price of One-Way Tickets would increase by 25 cents in all zones (a 2.3 percent to 6.7 percent increase). Customers who ride Metra 30 times a year would pay an additional $7.50.
• The price of 10-Ride Tickets would increase $4.25 to $7.75 (8 percent to 12.6 percent) depending on the zone.
• The price of Monthly Passes would increase $9 to $12.50 (4.1 percent to 8.4 percent) depending on the zone. That would be an annual increase of $108 to $150.
• The price of Weekend Passes would increase to $10 from $8 but they would now be valid on Friday evenings (trains arriving or leaving downtown after 7 p.m.) in addition to all day Saturday and Sunday.
• Reduced fare ticket prices also will increase, but an earlier proposal to eliminate the reduced fare Monthly Pass has been scrapped.
A number of weekday trains would be curtailed or eliminated on the North Central Service, SouthWest Service and Rock Island Line, and weekend trains would be cut on the Milwaukee District North Line.
Metra customers and members of the public are encouraged to attend one of the eight public hearings held throughout the Chicago area Nov. 1-2 and provide comments on the proposed budget.
Comments on the proposed budget can be emailed to 2018budgetcomments@ metrarr.com, faxed to 312-322-7094, shared via facebook.com/MetraRail and mailed to the Assistant Secretary to the Metra Board, Room 1300, 547 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL, 60661.
Full details of the changes can be found on MetraRail.com.