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Metra board approves fare hike for 10-rides

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Metra board approved a fare hike for commuters who purchase the 10-ride ticket.

The board of directors voted eight to two Friday to eliminate the 10-ride ticket bonus.

Instead of getting 10 rides for the price of nine, starting on February 1 passengers will have to pay for all 10. There will be an increase of $2.75 to $9.25 per 10-ride ticket, depending on the distance.

"Ten for 10 is difficult when you're paying nine for 10. But the reality is this is the direction we need to head," said Don De Graff, Metra board of directors.

"I think everybody agrees that we don't want to have another increase. And I think everybody agrees that we need an increase," said John Partelow, Metra board vice-chairman.

The move comes on the heels of an across-the-board, 25-percent average rate hike last February, which led some board members to vote no Friday.

"I think we owe it to our customers a year of relief. I really think we do in this economy, in this environment. And I just think that's good PR," said Mike McCoy, Metra board of directors.

But in the end, most board members said smaller annual increases to pay for system improvements will help prevent a repeat of last February's giant rate hike.

"Nobody wants to do a fare increase of any kind. But realistically we have to do something each year," said Jack Schaffer, Metra board treasurer.

At Union Station, reactions were mixed.

"Why sell the 10-ride ticket at all?" said Caryl Henningsen, Metra rider. "Buy 10 tickets. Carry two when you come downtown and use the other one to go back."

"If it were a 50-percent increase, I'd probably be upset. But 10-percent? Probably a bargain given the nature of what I consider to be very good service," said Anthony Stamato, Sr., Metra rider.

Paul Kubina of LaGrange frequently buys the 10-ride ticket. He wasn't happy to hear he'll soon be paying more.

"It's an easy capture. It's an easy way to get the money," said Kubina. "People who ride Metra generally are very loyal riders. And so therefore, even though there's a dissent, there's nothing that can be done."

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