By David Villegas
Recently, the Metra Board of Directors approved a budget of $1.06 billion which includes a fare increase of 5.8 percent which would produce $16.1 million toward the agency’s capital needs, according to Metra.
Metra commuters who buy one-way tickets will pay from 2.4 percent to 7.1 percent more depending on the Metra zone.
Customers who buy ten-ride tickets will pay from 2.9 percent to 8.9 percent more and monthly passes will increase from 4 percent to 12.3 percent more.
Other fare increases are an additional 25 cents on the reduced fare for the one-way ticket, an additional $1.50 on the reduced fare for the ten-ride ticket and an additional $7.50 on the reduced fare for the Monthly Pass ticket. More specifically, monthly passes will cost about $11.75 more per month, which according to Metra, will add up to about $141 annually for riders.
Metra, which is a part of the Regional Transportation Authority, collects fares which cover half of its operating budget. The other half is covered from the RTA sales tax which is collected from the six-county area which make up the Chicagoland area.
According to Metra’s website, they expect to receive $175 million from federal funds and $72.4 million from the RTA for its capital needs. They are not expecting any funding from the State of Illinois.
Lidia Wojtusiak, a student at Roosevelt who rides the Metra, feels that this will impact current Metra riders negatively.
“As a commuter myself I feel raising the fare will affect so many people because many of us ride the metra to save time and money. The metra allows over 150,000 people to commute daily,” Wojtusiak said. “If prices continue to increase, the amount of people will decrease causing many to be forced to find other forms of transportation. I feel like it’s a hassle and it’s unnecessary.”
Becca Wojcicki, a student organizer for the campus organization RISE, gave her input on what this means to her.
“This is going to make it much more expensive to commute because it is already $7.25 one way for me to travel to the city from home. If it increased any more it will be almost $8 to travel one way and $16 a day that I’m on campus,” Wojcicki said.
Wojcicki also explained that there is no other alternative to Metra in the area that she is from.
“But at the same time, what choice do I have? Metra is the only way to get to the city besides driving which takes 1-2 hours depending on the traffic,” Wojcicki said.