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CTA Survey Asks Riders’ Opinions About Hypothetical Fare Hike

CTA Train (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

CTA Train (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Would you pay double or more the current fare for a ride on the CTA? That’s one of the questions on a new survey the CTA sent to some of its customers.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker went on a little fact-finding mission of her own to find out what folks think about possibly paying more than $5 a ride.

As you might imagine, it’s not a very popular idea.

The CTA plans to survey 10,000 passengers. Most of the questions are not about a fare hike, but those are the questions that attract the most attention.

It’s been three years since the CTA raised fares and the increase was just 25 cents per ride. In this survey, the CTA has asked riders to weigh in on several fare options that are lot more than a quarter.

Right now, the CTA charges $2 for bus rides and $2.25 for train rides for passengers who use a farecard. Cash fares are $2.25 for both trains and buses. The first transfer is 25 cents and the second transfer is free. Reduced fares are available for children up to the age of 11, students, seniors and those with disabilities.

One of the options in the survey is a $3.50 fare for the bus, a transfer would be 75 cents and, if it’s rush hour, tack on another $1 to the fare. That would mean a cost of $5.25 for someone who took a CTA bus and transferred to a train during rush hour.

“That’s much too much. I mean, the service is bad, the buses are always crowded, they’re slow,” CTA rider Joan Haley said.

Michael Hagstrom said, “It’s a service they provide, I don’t know how you can charge more during certain times a day than others, especially when the buses are packed and you’re not guaranteed a seat.”

The survey also asks riders about hiking the price of the CTA’s three-day pass from $14 to $25; and the price of a 30-day pass from $86 to $150.

“That’s almost twice the amount that I’m paying now. That’s ridiculous,” said DePaul University student Kimberly Pearson.

CTA rider Fred Edwards said, “It’s a little bit stiff, but it’s well worth the investment; you know, when you think about savings on parking.”

CTA Spokesman Brian Steele said the survey is only discussing “hypothetical fare scenarios.” He also pointed out the survey is 20 pages long and offers the CTA a chance to learn who’s riding, when they ride, and more.

Steele said how much CTA riders are willing to pay is just a small part of the survey that shouldn’t be taken out of context.

But when asked directly if the CTA is considering a fare hike, Steele said, “at this point, there are no discussions for any fare changes for the CTA. Those will be part of much later discussions.”

CTA officials also pointed out they’ve been doing surveys like these for 20 years, so it’s not new.

The results of this latest survey are expected this summer.