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Metra Wraps Up Public Hearings On Fare Hikes

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Metra locomotive (CBS File Photo)

Metra locomotive (CBS File Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Metra Thursday night wrapped up eight public hearings in two days on the largest fare increase in the agency’s history.

Those who missed the hearings, but want to make their views known, can still do so by e-mail — but only until 4 p.m. Friday.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports


The comments ranged from the supportive, to the ambivalent, to the downright angry.

Not surprisingly, Metra chief executive officer Alex Clifford said that the attendance at the hearings was the best the agency has seen in years, although there were no rooms jammed with irate riders.

The hearing at Metra headquarters, staged during the evening rush hour Thursday, drew a mere nine people. And, Clifford said, the agency continues to get e-mails on both sides of the fare increase — more than 200 in all.

Metra is proposing increases averaging 30 percent for those who use
10-ride tickets, 29.4 percent for those who use monthly passes and 15.7
percent for those who use one-way tickets.

The only ticket that would not cost more is the weekend pass, which will remain at $7.

Metra also is making adjustments to the way tickets are accepted and refunded in the hope of gaining a bit of revenue.

One-way tickets would be valid for 14 days, instead of a year, and would not be refundable. The discount on 10-ride tickets is the equivalent of nine one-way fares instead of eight.

Monthly passes will be good only for the calendar month, instead of until noon of the first work day of the next month.

While 10-ride tickets would remain valid for a year, they would be refundable only for three months from the date of purchase.

Metra will institute handling fees of $5 to refund partially-used or unused 10-ride tickets and $10 on monthly passes.

Metra is also eliminating its subsidy for the Link-Up and PlusBus passes, although both will continue to be available as a convenience to riders.

Additional e-mails will be accepted through 4 p.m. Friday at onthebilevel@metrarr.com.

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