Metra Fares Increase Wednesday

Metra’s last general fare increase was in 2008

The largest fare increase in Metra's 27-year history takes effect Wednesday.

That means most riders will need to shell out another 30 percent for an average ticket and passengers who live closer to the city will see their rates go up even more.

Per the new fee structure, one-way tickets will increase by an average of nearly 16 percent across all zones, 10-ride tickets will see a 30 percent increase and monthly passes will increase by about 29.5 percent.

And more changes are on the way. One-way tickets no longer will be refundable and will be valid for only 14 days. Riders that live closer to the city, in zones A and B, will see a 35 percent increase in monthly passes and 10-ride passes.

Metra Link-Up passes to get on the CTA and Pace buses also will increase by $6 on Wednesday.

"If that's the case, with the fare increase it's just another reason for me to find other means," said one commuter.

But if other means is code for driving into the city instead of using Metra, in most cases commuting on one's own is likely still more expensive.

"Even though Metra prices may be going up, what people need to keep in mind is not just gas prices are going to costs you as you drive into the city, but we also have to figure out the wear and tear of the car, the depreciation of the car [and] the tires," said AAA's Beth Mosher.

And then there's the issue of parking, which can run $20 to $30 per day.

The Metra board approved the changes back in November in response to millions of debt dollars and the need for some $5 billion in agency improvements.

New Metra CEO Alex Clifford told NBCChicago in November the fare hike was unavoidable because of years of “kicking the can down the road” in Metra’s budgeting process. Clifford argued that his disgraced predecessor Phil Pagano had for too long raided the agency’s capital budget just to keep the operating budget in the black.

“We will ask that our riders continue to be loyal riders to our system,” Clifford said. “I hope to never bring this sizable type of increase back to the board.”

Metra’s last general fare increase was in 2008.

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