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Rail News: Passenger Rail

NICTD proposes fare increase


Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) recently proposed a 10 percent across-the-board fare increase to recover half of its operating costs from passenger revenue.

NICTD revenues have been flat during the past several years, due in part to declining Chicago-area employment and rising expenses. The agency also incurred costs by initiating service improvements, including a passenger communication office, expanded and improved parking, additional mid-day trains and enhanced car cleaning.

The 10 percent increase is consistent with fare adjustments being made in other nationwide urban areas, according to a prepared statement.

NICTD also proposes changing the qualifying age for youth fares from 2 to 13 to 2 to 11.

Public hearings on the proposed increase are scheduled throughout the month. If plans are approved at NICTD’s May 30 board meeting, new fares would go into effect in July and represent the agency’s first fare increase since 1996.

Meanwhile, NICTD is continuing work on several construction projects. A $10 million project to renovate East Chicago Station is under way and scheduled for completion in 2004. The renovation includes adding a high-level boarding platform, platform-level elevator, passenger warming shelters, waiting room, NICTD police headquarters and expanded parking.

Also, a $15 million program to replace bridges is nearly complete.

During the next three to five years, the agency plans to spend $87 million modernizing signal and overhead-power systems to improve operating flexibility and reliability.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/8/2003