The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Transitpocalypse! Update

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Oct 16, 2009 4:40PM

Photo by Brian Hagy
While we wait to see if the CTA will indeed make good on its threat to raise fares and cut services in an attempt to close a budget gap numbering in the hundreds of millions of dollars, at least one high-ranking government official is ready to do his part. With the RTA already supporting such a measure, Gov. Pat Quinn is also giving some thought to repealing the free CTA rides for senior programs infamously instituted by then-governor Rod Blagojevich. Speaking to WGN Radio today, Quinn supported the idea of reviewing program and possibly altering it to offer free rides to veterans, active military, and seniors whose income falls below a certain threshold. Said Quinn:

“If there’s a review and it finds the program should be based on ability to pay, that low-income seniors and definitely veterans and also our military personnel receive a break with respect to public transit, I think that’s where we’re headed...And under a crisis, sometimes, that’s what you have to do. If you are wealthy, then maybe you can make do with the…situation where you pay your way. But I don’t want to hurt folks who live from pension check to pension check."

Joining the CTA in proposing higher fares for 2010, Metra unveiled plans for their own hike; the last time Metra raised fares was in 2008. One-way fares would be raised by six percent while weekend fares would increase from $5 to $7. The biggest increase will come with the surcharge for those who purchase tickets on the train instead of at the station: from $2 to $5. This new hike, though, will apply only to stops where tickets are available at the station.