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Metra Proposes Small Fare Hike For 2016

By Kate Shepherd in News on Oct 15, 2015 10:10PM

Photo Credit: Mark Sliozis

Metra riders might be paying more for their rides soon. Fares will go up by $2.50 for monthly passes and by 25 cents for one-way tickets in February, according to the transit agency's proposed 2016 budget.

A flat-rate hike is set to raise overall ticket revenue by 2 percent, according to a statement from Metra. The cost of 10-ride tickets would go up by $1.75, the reduced fare 10-ride ticket price would increase by 75 cents and the reduced fare monthly pass would cost an additional $1.25.

State funding woes will still affect Metra despite the fare increase. They're only going to make "bare bones" improvements and put off about $400 million worth of necessary work until state funding is back.

"But, we want to be clear - without a state bond program in 2016 and due to the budget stalemate in Springfield, approximately $400 million of Metra's capital projects are currently on hold," Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno said in a statement. "If the state's bond program proceeds do not materialize in 2016, we may need an even larger-than-expected increase in fare revenue in 2017."

Metra had been considering a fare hike that would increase ticket revenue by five percent but decided it was not necessary because of $5.7 million in budget efficiencies, lower gas prices and higher regional sales tax receipts.

"We told our customers that we would do everything we could to avoid or minimize higher fares next year and that is precisely what we have done," Metra Chairman Martin Oberman said in a statement.

The public is invited to weigh in on the proposed fare hike at eight hearings in the area, including one that will be streamed on Metra's website. Customers are encouraged to email with their opinion.