Metra riders will pay higher fares under a plan to increase prices by an average of 5.8 percent, according to a tentative budget approved Friday by Metra’s board of directors.
The 5.8 percent fare increase means that people buying a 10-ride pass for zone F, for example, would pay approximately $63.75 instead of $60.25, the current rate for that zone. The fare increase would take effect beginning in February. The public transit agency said the additional money will go toward new train cars and locomotives.
Metra’s board of directors also considered an alternative plan to raise fares by 4.8 percent. That proposal was backed by outgoing Metra board chairman Marty Oberman.
“Fare payers cannot possibly afford to pay the entire cost of it,” Oberman said. “If we paid the entire cost of running the railroad, it would cost $40 or $50 each way to get downtown. That’s obvious impractical.”
If the board of directors had done nothing, fares were scheduled to jump 8.5 percent as part of a 10-year plan approved in 2014.
The proposed 2017 budget, which is a little over a billion dollars, will go before the public for a series of hearings Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. The board will then take a final vote on Nov. 11.
Public hearings on the budget proposal will take place Nov. 2 from 4 p.m to 7 p.m. at:
- Homewood Village Hall, village board room, 2020 Chesnut Road, Homewood.
- Arlington Heights Village Hall, village board room, 33 S. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights.
- Clarendon Hills Village Hall, village board room, 1 N. Prospect Ave., Clarendon Hills.
- Mundelein Village Hall, village board room, 300 Plaza Circle, Mundelein.
- Metra, board room, 547 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago.
- Public hearings will also be held Nov. 3 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at:
- Kane County Government Center, Building A’s first floor auditorium, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva.
- Will County Office Building, county board room on the second floor, 302 N. Chicago St., Joliet.
- Crystal Lake City Hall, city council chambers, 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake
Yolanda Perdomo is a reporter with WBEZ. You can follow her at @yolandanews