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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Metra OKs 2010 operating budget

Last week, Metra’s board approved a $613 million operating budget that calls for a hike in one-way and weekend fares, but no changes to service in 2010.

Scheduled to take effect Feb.1, 2010, the new fare structure would not affect 10-ride tickets or monthly passes, according to the Chicago commuter-rail agency. One-way fares would increase about 6 percent, or an average of about 30 cents per ticket, while weekend fares would rise from $5 to $7 — the first hike in the cost of weekend passes since Metra began offering them in 1991.

To encourage riders to buy tickets at stations and via the Internet, Metra will increase the cost of onboard purchases from $2 to $3. Next year, Metra plans to accept credit cards at all stations where an agent is on duty, including the five downtown stations, and install ticket vending machines at key stations along the Metra Electric District.

The Regional Transportation Authority now will determine whether to approve Metra’s operating budget at its Dec. 17 meeting.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/17/2009