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Metra Surveying Customers About Fare Hikes, Service Cuts

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Metra locomotive (CBS File Photo)

Metra locomotive (CBS File Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Metra wants to hear from you on the possibility of fare hikes and service cuts, and it doesn’t matter if you ride Metra daily or never come within miles of a commuter train.

Spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet is overseeing the 20-question online survey that is linked to Metra’s Web site.

“It will be up for two weeks, and then we will take it down and we’ll analyze the data and then we’ll be presenting it to the board,” she said.

Metra’s next scheduled board meeting in Aug. 12.

Pardonnet said the survey wants to try to determine what riders of each of its commuter lines want.

Be ready to tell what line you use, the type of ticket you use and even the zone of your station. While most of the survey is multiple choice, it gives you a 200-letter box at the bottom of the survey to voice comments. Metra also will accept longer e-mails through its Web site.

Metra has solicited public comment on its Web site several times in recent months, most notably when Alex Clifford joined Metra as its chief executive officer. Pardonnet said the survey gives riders and the public a chance to sound off well before options are discussed by the board and public hearings take place in October, once the budget has been published.

Those who fill out the questionnaire have the option of remaining anonymous or leaving a name and contact information, should you want to discuss ideas with them at length.

At its July 15 meeting, Metra officials said fares could increase anywhere from 8 to 21 percent in the coming year, and that it could trim service by eliminating one crew per line, with the exception of the Heritage Corridor. Planners said that more draconian service cuts would end up costing more than they would save.

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