Metra fare revenue will increase 5.8 percent next year

Matthew Choi, Copy Chief

Metra approved a 5.8 percent increase in fare revenue as part of their budget for 2017.

Customers who purchase a one-way ticket will have to pay 25 cents more per trip for all distances, according to a news release. Monthly passes will cost $11.75 more per month while 10-Ride tickets will cost $2.75 more per ticket per trip. Fare changes will go into effect Feb. 1.

The $1.06 billion budget, passed by the Metra Board of Directors on Friday, provides $781.2 million for operating costs and $279.5 million for capital improvements. The revenue from passenger fares currently account for about half of the operating costs.

All of the additional fare revenue will pay for capital improvement projects. Other parts of the budget will be financed by sales tax from the Regional Transit Authority, which controls Metra, CTA and PACE and state and federal financing.

Operating costs include day-to-day expenses and will increase by $21.4 million. The spending expansions increases in health care costs for employees and a 3 percent jump in employee wages in addition to higher training costs and funding for safety and system fire and police. Increased operating costs will be covered by an expected $21.8 million increase in RTA sales tax revenue.

Metra’s Capital Budget totals $279.5 million, the lowest possible amount to keep the system functioning. Capital investments financed by the budget include replacing rolling stock, renovating bridges on the Union Pacific North line — which runs from Chicago to Kenosha through Evanston — and rebuilding the Ravenswood station. Metra projects it will have $900 million less than needed for capital projects for the next four years. It expects no increases in state financing for capital projects.

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