Fare hikes on the way for Chicago train, bus passengers

Fare hikes on the way for Chicago train, bus passengers

The Chicago Transit Authority’s latest budget proposal includes 25-cent fare hikes.

As Chicagoans grip their wallets in anticipation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recently approved 2018 budget, another local entity’s budget will angle to secure more revenue from Chicago passengers.

Bus and train fares in Chicago will each cost an extra 25 cents, the Chicago Transit Authority announced on Nov. 22.

With current bus and train fare at $2 and $2.25, respectively, the added quarter would bring standard bus fare to $2.25 and “L” rides to $2.50. Monthly Ventra passes will rise to $105 from $100. Special reduced fares for students, senior citizens and disabled passengers will only see a 15-cent increase in “L” train fare, and a 10-cent increase for bus rides.

The announcement was included in the CTA’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018. As the Chicago Tribune notes, the proposal had been anticipated, as Emanuel and CTA President Dorval Carter had recently declined to rule out the possibility of a looming fare hike.

It’s a move the Regional Transportation Authority, or RTA, which presides over all metro-Chicago transit agencies’ finances, has been recommending to the CTA.

While the pending budget would slash 45 vacant CTA positions and freeze hiring for another 70, the proposal avoids making broad layoffs. Service cuts have been excluded from the budget.

Conceived in response to the state’s $33 million in CTA cuts, effective 2018, the agency projects that it will see $23 million as a result of the 25-cent hike, as well as an additional $23 million in saved labor costs from the hiring freeze.

The fare increase will follow Metra’s recent fare hike. Unlike Metra, however, the CTA hasn’t put forth an across-the-board fare hike in eight years. In 2009, the bus rate was upped to $2 from $1.75; train fare went up to $2.25 from $2. Pass prices were increased in 2013.

To secure approval, the proposal will be put before the CTA board on Dec. 13 and the RTA on Dec. 14. If approved, passengers can prepare for the changes to take effect Jan. 7.

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