Metra unveils $1.1 billion budget, including significant changes to fare structure

Metra has unveiled its operating budget for Fiscal Year 2024, and it includes significant changes to the way the agency collects and charges fares on its network of train lines.

Currently, Metra has 10 different zones, based on distance from downtown Chicago. The new program will shrink that number to just four zones, according to Metra officials. A full list of affected stations can be found at the end of this story.

One-way tickets will cost $3.75 from Zone 2 into the city, $5.50 from Zone 3 into downtown, and $6.75 from Zone 4.

All one-way trips that do not end in the downtown corridor will cost $3.75, no matter the distance, according to the agency.

Weekday day passes will be priced at twice the cost of a one-way ticket, with $6 and $10 day passes being discontinued.

10-ride tickets will also be phased out, and replaced with five-packs of day passes. Those tickets will only be available on the Metra app, according to the agency.

Finally, “incremental fares,” which instituted surcharges for travel beyond the zones printed on a ticket, will be phased out.

Monthly passes will be 20-times the cost of a standard one-way ticket between zones, running at $75 for Zone 2 travel, $110 for Zone 3 travel, and $135 for Zone 4.

Monthly-pass buyers will still be eligible to purchase the $30 Regional Connect Pass, which permits unlimited travel on the CTA and Pace buses.

Finally, $7 all-day fares on weekends and holidays, and $10 weekend passes, will still be available.

In addition to the fare changes, nearly $575 million in funding will be allocated to 97 projects in the Metra system, including replacing bridges and walls, as well as rehabbing stations and parking lots.

Public hearings will be held on Nov. 1 and 2 on the budget and proposed fare changes, according to the agency. A list of hearings, as well as virtual options, can be found on the agency’s website.

Here’s how the four-zone fare structure would work, by line:


Zone 1: Downtown Chicago

Zone 2: Clybourn-to-Wilmette

Zone 3: Kenilworth-to-Ravinia

Zone 4: Highland Park-to-Kenosha

Milwaukee District North:

Zone 1: Downtown Chicago

Zone 2: Downtown-to-Morton Grove

Zone 3: Golf-to-Lake Cook Road

Zone 4: Deerfield-to-Fox Lake


Zone 1: Downtown Chicago

Zone 2: Downtown-to-Dee Road

Zone 3: Des Plaines-to-Arlington Park

Zone 4: Palatine-to-Harvard

Milwaukee District West:

Zone 1: Downtown Chicago

Zone 2: Downtown-to-Mannheim

Zone 3: Bensenville-to-Medinah

Zone 4: Roselle-to-Big Timber


Zone 1: Downtown Chicago

Zone 2: Kedzie Avenue-to-Berkeley

Zone 3: Elmhurst-to-Lombard

Zone 4: Glen Ellyn-to-Elburn


Zone 1: Downtown Chicago

Zone 2: Halsted Avenue-to-Brookfield

Zone 3: Congress Park-to-Fairview Avenue

Zone 4: Main Street-to-Route 59 Aurora

Heritage Corridor

Zone 1: Downtown Chicago

Zone 2: Summit

Zone 3: Willow Springs and Lemont

Zone 4: Romeoville-to-Joliet

Rock Island:

Zone 1: Downtown Chicago

Zone 2 (Mainline): 35th Street-to-Midlothian

Zone 2 (Beverly Branch: Brainerd-to-123rd Street

Zone 3: Oak Forest and Tinley Park (Oak Park Avenue)

Zone 4: Tinley Park (80th Avenue)-to-Joliet

Southwest Service:

Zone 1: Downtown Chicago

Zone 2: Wrightwood and Ashburn

Zone 3: Oak Lawn-to-Palos Heights

Zone 4: Palos Park-to-Manhattan

Metra Electric Line:

Zone 1: Millennium Station-to-Museum Campus

Zone 2 (Mainline): 18th Street-to-Calumet

Zone 2 (South Chicago Branch): Stony Island-to-93rd Street

Zone 2 (Blue island Branch): State Street (Roselawn)-to-Blue Island

Zone 3: Homewood-to-University Park

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