Reporting Craig Dellimore
CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday defended his comments about the plan to raise the prices for CTA passes, saying his words on Monday were misinterpreted.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports some CTA riders bristled when the mayor seemed to suggest Monday that commuters upset with the decision to raise pass prices could just drive instead.
“Now you, as a commuter, will pick. You can either drive to work or you can take public transportation, and the standard fare will stay the same,” Emanuel said Monday.
But the mayor insisted Wednesday that he wasn’t suggested people upset with the price increase should just drive.
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“I did not say or imply that you could just drive, I said there’s a choice. People choose public transportation, because it’s competitive against private transportation. That’s a choice, and the service is getting better, and improved, and that’s my intention,” the mayor said.
Emanuel said he just meant those CTA commuters who have another choice besides public transit – like those who use their own cars or can afford a long taxi ride – can determine for themselves if the CTA is their best option even after the prices for daily, 3-day, 7-day and 30-day passes go up next year.
“If you’re coming in from O’Hare, you pay $50 for the cab to come downtown. You can rent a car, which is probably close to that, or you can take the CTA. That’s a choice which is much cheaper,” Emanuel said. “I think public transportation is competitive against private transportation; both on price, convenience, service and comfort.”
He said the base $2 fare for bus rides and $2.25 fare for train rides won’t be changing through 2015, but the same can’t be said for gas prices.
“Forty-five percent of the people who take the CTA pay the $2.25. That will be true this year, next year, the following year, and the year after. Neither gas at the pump … milk, bread, eggs, any other staple can say for the next four years the price will be stable.”
The mayor also said CTA service is getting better, and the transit agency’s budget plan should help it continue improving.