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Rail News: Financials

Metra cuts proposed 2017 operating budget by $5.3 million


[Editor's note: This story was updated at 11:44 a.m.]

Metra will trim its 2017 operating budget by $5.3 million, the Chicago-area commuter railroad announced yesterday.

As part of the budget reduction, Metra will eliminate 27 positions throughout the agency, including some ticket agents. The railroad doesn't need as many of these kind of workers because there's been an increase in riders purchasing tickets through the Ventra app, Metra officials said in a press release.

The positions will be eliminated by attrition, which will save $1.7 million, according to Metra.

In addition, Metra will save $1.8 million by cutting outside legal fees for labor relations, as well as efficiencies in insurance claims and costs.

The railroad also will retire the last of the old Highliner cars on the Metra Electric Line. This will result in a $100,000 reduction in repair and maintenance costs. Metra will save an additional $100,000 through reduced rental expenses by staffing the Glenview, Ill., ticket office with its own workers instead of Amtrak employees.

"This announcement is just one more demonstration of our commitment to finding ways to operate as efficiently and effectively as we can," said Metra Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno. "Our promise to our customers as we put each operating budget together is that we will find as many ways as we can to do more with less."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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