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Metra to end website ticket purchases

Online sales of monthly passes have been declining since 2014, according to the railroad.
Photo – Metra


Metra in June will stop selling tickets on its website in an effort to save money.

Rolled out in September 2009, the railroad's Ticket-by-Internet program allows riders to buy monthly passes and 10-ride tickets on Metra's website. The program also allows passengers to set up recurring orders to receive tickets on a monthly schedule.

Online sales of monthly passes peaked in 2014, when the agency sold an average of 5,162 passes each month. However, those numbers have been declining since, especially after the introduction of the Ventra mobile app in late 2015, Metra officials said in a press release.

In 2017, the railroad sold an average of 2,654 monthly passes a month through its website. That number is about 3 percent of overall monthly pass sales.

Ending the Ticket-by-Internet program will enable Metra to save about $144,000 in annual website hosting and maintenance costs, as well as interface support costs.

Additionally, the move will enable the railroad to avoid $70,000 in required credit card security upgrades this year, Metra officials said.

"We understand this change will inconvenience some Metra customers," said Jim Derwinski, Metra's chief executive officer and executive director. "However, we are trying to find efficiencies wherever we can, and we still offer several other sales channels, including the convenient Ventra App."

As riders switch to digital tickets, Metra has closed various ticket offices throughout its system, including one on the BNSF Line and two others.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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