CTA: Fare Hikes Or Service Cuts A “Last Resort” For 2018

CHICAGO (CBS) — Metra says it is ready to raise fares for the fourth time in four years, but the head of the CTA says he is not about to follow its lead.

The state served up a $20-plus million curveball when imposing a 2 percent surcharge on CTA’s tax collections as part of the state budget deal, but CTA President Dorval Carter says it is too late to change fares or service levels this year. He says he can find the needed money in 2018 through economies and non-traditional revenues, such as advertising.

Carter says changes to fares or service levels would be considered only as a “last resort.”

“I’ve got a very talented staff that is very committed to working through these issues with me in trying to find ways to avoid having to pursue anything like a fare increase and especially service cuts,” he said.

Carter says now is not the time to be considering such moves for another good reason: increased competition from ride share companies such as Uber and Lyft. He says many ride share users could actually get places faster using the ‘L,’ especially during rush hours when traffic is the heaviest.

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