CHICAGO (CBS) — Despite a looming 11 percent fare increase for 10-ride ticketholders, few riders bothered to turn out for Metra’s only public hearings on its 2013 budget.

Only four people appeared at the hearings Tuesday at Metra headquarters, 547 W. Jackson blvd., and only three attended another hearing at the Arlington Heights Village Hall. Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said the turnout was just as slim elsewhere. Eight hearings took place simultaneously; three in Cook County, and one in each of the collar counties that Metra serves.

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Two of those downtown who spoke and one in Arlington Heights complained about the decision to eliminate the discount on 10-ride tickets, effective Feb. 1.

The Arlington Heights speaker asked rhetorically how far Metra can raise fares before people stop riding.

Gillis said that Metra has received more comment by e-mail than it did in person. He said most of the 70 e-mails generally fall into three categories: those who say Metra is picking on 10-ride ticketholders, those who say it is too soon to raise fares after February’s systemwide increase, which average 25.9 percent, and a third group opposed to any form of fare hike.

Those who use one-ride tickets or monthly passes will not see an increase in 2013, if the Metra board approves its tentative budget when it meets Friday.

Metra will continue to accept public comment by e-mail until 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Comments can be e-mailed to

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