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Monday, November 13, 2017

Metra 2018 budget hikes fares, cuts trains

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Norman Carlson. Norman Carlson. Metra

Metra, the commuter rail division of Chicago’s Regional Transportation Authority, approved a 2018 budget that raises fares and cuts some trains in a bid to close a $45-million operating deficit.

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The agency’s board approved the budget Nov. 10. Published reports quoted agency officials warning of more fare hikes and services cuts if the state of Illinois doesn’t kick in more funding.

Monthly Metra tickets will increase between $9 and $12.50 as of Feb. 1. Ten-ride tickets will increase between $4.25 and $7.75; weekend passes would rise from $8 to $10.

Starting Feb. 5, five weekday trains will be curtailed or eliminated on the North Central Service, SouthWest Service and Rock Island Line, and weekend trains will be cut on the Milwaukee District North Line.

“The current situation is unsustainable, and threatens the future viability of the important service Metra provides,” said Metra Chairman Norman Carlson. “With the proper amount of sustained public investment, we can create a system with a long and bright future. It is clearly in the interest of the citizens of northeast Illinois for Metra to do so.”