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Metra OKs Fare Hike On 10-Ride Tickets; CTA Postpones Budget Unveiling

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 16, 2012 9:40PM

Metra’s Board of Directors voted today to hike the cost of a 10-ride fare ticket by 11 percent as early as February. This marks the second fare hike the transit agency that seems to relish bad publicity in a year. Riders who hoard the 10-ride tickets can expect an increase in their fares ranging from $2.75 to $9.25, based on the distance-determined zones.

As the Sun-Times noted, the vote wasn’t unanimous. Board member Mike McCoy said riders already saw a 25 percent fare hike in January and voted no. He was joined by fellow board member Jim LaBelle, who preferred a fare hike plan that didn’t penalize frequent riders. Ten-ride tickets account for 22 percent of Metra’s ridership. Board member Jack Schaffer argued in favor of the hike and said the agency should be run like a “smart business,” instead of how it’s normally run.

Meanwhile CTA President Forrest Claypool decided not to release his agency’s 2013 budget Thursday, while labor negotiations with Amalgamated Transit Unions 241 and 308 continue. CTA spokesman Brian Steele told the Sun-Times talks between the two sides advanced to the point where they “felt it’s better to stay at the table than to announce the budget,” and since any tentative deal would affect projections. Claypool and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are hoping the two unions will reach a deal similar to the one agreed on by other unions last week that trades work-rule changes for a no-layoff guarantee. Earlier this week talks between the two sides were tense.