New Year, New Mass Transit Costs

Fares to rise in 2013 on CTA, Metra

Motorists aren't the only ones who will feel the pinch of higher commuter costs in the New Year.

Though the Chicago Parking Meters LLC's looming rate hike remains a hot topic as 2012 comes to a close, those who use the Chicago Transit Authority and Metra may also have to pay more.

An across-the-board fare hike for multi-ride passes takes effect Jan. 14. The CTA Board says the increase is necessary to balance its 2013 budget. Here's how it breaks down: Base fares remain unchanged at $2 for bus and $2.25 for rail, but prices for 3-day, 7-day and 30-day passes will increase by $6, $5 and $14, respectively. The one-day pass will go up to $10.

An additional $5 single-ride fare on trips originating from O'Hare International Airport (on the Blue Line) also will be implemented. However, after quite a bit public feedback on this proposal, the CTA agreed to work with the Chicago Department of Aviation to develop a system to exempt employees working on O’Hare property. 

Until that system is developed, the board delayed this hike until July 1, 2013, giving airport workers time to learn about the surcharge intended primarily for visitors and infrequent users. Those workers (and savvy residents) can purchase a Chicago Card and avoid the increase.

As for Metra riders, they'll pay more for 10-ride passes beginning Feb. 1. Currently, a 10-ride pass is the cost of nine one-way fares. That savings will go away. There is a brief grace period, though. If you have passes purchased after Nov. 17, they will still be honored through Feb. 28. 

New Year's Eve Transit Notes:

Metra is reminding riders it will run an "Early Quit" schedule on Monday, Dec. 31.  Then on New Year's Day, it and the CTA will run on a weekend/Holiday schedule. 

The CTA, meanwhile, is trumpeting a new, three-year deal with Miller/Coors to sponsor Penny Rides on New Year's Eve 2012.  For six hours, from 10 p.m. Monday until 4 a.m. Tuesday, rides on buses and trains are 1 cent. Many people wonder if they actually need to have a penny in their pocket. The CTA is required by law to charge a fee, but the attendants will likely wave you through during the Penny Rides period, even if you don't have the coin.

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