Metra CEO To Riders: Blame Fare Hike On Previous Administration

Updated 9/24/11 at 10:00 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — In a letter to Metra riders, the agency’s CEO on Friday called proposed fare increases “jolting” but necessary due to rising costs, lower income and inaction by the previous Metra administration.

The response comes three days after U.S. Sens. Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin wrote letters to Metra asking for details on the 30 percent fare increase.

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Exactly how that increase effects one way tickets, 10-ride tickets, monthly passes and other fares is “still under discussion,” but some fares will rise more than the average while others less, Alex Clifford said in a letter to riders.

“We know this is jolting; it’s jolting to us, too,” Clifford said.

But it needs to be done, he says, and you can blame the previous Metra administration.

“No one wants higher fares. But part of the reason we are in such a fix is that the prior Metra administration did not adequately prepare for this day and kicked the problems down the road,” Clifford said.

“Instead of what could and should have been a series of smaller, more moderate fare increases to address the issue, we are forced to propose this major, distasteful one.”

A multitude of factors is leading to the increase, including sales tax proceeds far below what was projected in 2008, as well as the rising cost of diesel fuel. New federal regulations, higher insurance premiums and other rising cost factors are also in the mix, he says.

Clifford says the agency is working with each department to look at ways to reduce costs. To date, the budgeting process has yielded $4.4 million in cuts and savings.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • tom sharp

    Yes Virginia, all the problems rest with the “previous administration” and none of us worked for Metra at that time, and Santa is coming soon, and Govenor Quinn is a Saint, and…

  • paycheck2paycheck

    Yes it was the “previous administration”, BUT; The Metra Board of Directors allowed this to happen, BUT The RTA has financial oversight of Metra; But the State Legislation has oversight of the RTA, But we Elect the State Legislators, So it must be our fault…Hey Time for someone to take a little responsibility for continuing issues with RTA-CTA-PACE-METRA

  • e

    If they raise fares 30%, I’ll expect the 7:01 train to depart my station at 7:01, not 6:58. And the train that got me to work 1 hour late the other day? That will have to change too. Oh, and how about collecting fares from all riders? I’ve seen conductors look the other way soooo many times, not wanting to get into it with riders who refuse to pay.

  • tom sharp

    Hey “paycheck…” you and the author of this story miss the point: the previous administration IS mostly the present administration! They all didn’t commit suicide or retire. They voted for all or most for the policies in place. They granted the big shots pay raises and giant pensions/golden parachutes while letting the debts grow. They are nitwits and crooks and should be fired without a second thought. Hell, they can’t even collect the fares! You think that stopped with the change in bosses?

    • paycheck2paycheck

      Hey Tom Sharp, did you even read what I posted, you” nitwit”…

  • getyourowncar

    Stop btching and buy a car. Problem solved.

  • BeBe

    Doesn’t anyone step up to the plate nowadays without blaming the guy who was there before them? Scapegoating seems to be the name of the game. AND what part of that increase is scheduled for the pockets of the BIG SUITS … as seen in the new a few weeks ago???
    Come on guys let’s try to keep our stories straight. How stupid do you think the public is? A big problem here is the “crooks” are holding the guns and in so doing we have become their hostages..



    • PlayinTheSameBlameGame

      You nailed it OLD VET!

  • rambo

    Since the proposed fare increase is such a jolt to the new guy, let him take a 30% cut inh salary so he can share our pain.

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