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Metra's board on Wednesday approved a one-year contract to evaluate the Chicago commuter railroad's distance-based fare structure and fare products. The agency tapped Four Nines Technologies to carry out the work, which includes determining opportunities and costs of potential fare structure changes, along with developing a model that can help Metra evaluate any changes.The contract is worth up to $315,300, according to a Metra press release.Issues that Four Nines Technologies will review include changes to Metra's fare zones, including the number of zones in the system; distance-based versus flat fare options; current and prospective ticket offerings and types; and pricing options, such as peak and off-peak fares, discounts, reduced fares and transfers.The firm also will conduct the required Federal Transit Administration fare equity analysis and develop recommendations with a proposed action plan, Metra officials said."This team will play a significant role in partnering with our agency to evaluate our fare structure and make creative recommendations for changes, reflecting Metra's overall efforts to modernize its operations, engage customers and increase ridership," said Metra Chairman Martin Oberman. "The entire Metra board feels strongly that we need to do this important work, particularly in light of our many funding needs and our major funding challenge."
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