Metra Cruising Toward Fare Hike

(CBS) — Metra riders could soon be paying more for to ride between the suburbs and Chicago.

The commuter rail agency on Friday approved a preliminary “average” fare increase of nearly 6 percent that would take effect in February.

Metra Executive Director Don Orseno tells WBBM the increase will be “on an average of about 5.8 percent — some are larger, some are a little bit less.”

Metra officials stress the 6 percent fare increase is an “average” amount, saying that, for example, customers who buy One-Way Tickets will pay 25 cents more per ticket, or 2.4 percent to 7.1 percent more, depending on the Metra “zone.”

The commuter rail agency says the fare increase will generate an additional $16.1 million in revenue in 2017, which is needed to help pay for a 10-year capital plan that includes modernizing rail cars and to pay for a federally mandated safety system to prevent collisions.

“Nobody likes to pay more for anything, that’s just human nature, but if you’re trying to fund a system and have reliable transportation, which is so crucially important to the economic vitality of the region, you have to have a good transportation system,” Orseno says.

Metra says there will be public hearings on the proposed increase. A final vote is expected Nov. 11.

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