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Metra price hikes are coming

Metra price hikes are coming
Photograph: Mobilus In Mobili/Flickr

The latest piece of news in the "things are gonna cost more because you live in Chicago" department belongs to Metra.

The commuter rail announced a 2016 fare hike today, increasing the cost of monthly passes by $2.50. Riders with monthly passes will see a 0.9 percent to 2.7 percent increase depending on the length of their commute downtown. According to the Chicago Tribune, nearly two-thirds of Metra's 150,000 daily riders fall into this category.

Other types of fares weren't immune either. Ten-ride ticket prices are set to rise by $1.75 and one-way fares will go up by 25 cents. The reduced rates for special users were also targeted, with monthly passes rising by $1.25 and 10-ride fares increasing by 75 cents. Special users include seniors aged 65 and older, the disabled and individuals with Medicare.

Metra said the fare increases are actually less than expected due to cost cuts and savings.

Last year, Metra increased all its ticket prices by 10.8 percent. The price hikes are part of a broader plan by Metra officials that could increase fares by 68 percent over the next 10 years. Metra says the fare increases would offset costs for updating the trains.

The 2016 rate hikes were unanimously approved the same time as Metra's $945.5-million 2016 budget. Of that number, $759.8 million will go toward operating costs and $185.7 million will finance capital improvements like fleet maintenance and train repairs.

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