CHICAGO (CBS) — Commuters riding the South Shore between Northwest Indiana and downtown Chicago could be hit with a 5 percent fare increase as soon as next month.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District is proposing the increase to offset operating costs.

The increase would mean a monthly pass from Hammond or East Chicago, two of the most popular stations on the system, to Chicago would increase from $147.85 to $155.25. Fares for commuters in Gary would increase from $165.65 to $174.25.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Felicia Middlebrooks

A one-way ticket from Hammond or East Chicago would increase from $4.95 to $5.20.

Public hearings are scheduled for today in Gary, Wednesday in Chesterton and Thursday in Hammond. The NICTD board will consider the fare increase at their meeting on Jan. 27.

The fare hike would take effect in February.

Riders who take the train from Chicago’s Hegewish neighborhood will already be hit by a fare hike imposed by Metra. A one way ticket to downtown will cost $4.75, while a monthly pass will increase to $135.25. That increase also takes effect in February.

District spokesman John Parsons told the Associated Press that fares cover less than half the cost of the trains. He said state and federal funding help pay operating costs.

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