Whether you take the Metra each day as you commute to and from the city or take advantage of it for weekend rides to the suburbs, you'll be paying more to use the Chicagoland regional rail service in 2018. The Metra board approved the transit agency's 2018 budget on Friday and it includes plenty of fare hikes that will affect one-way tickets, 10-ride tickets, weekend passes and monthly passes.
Metra fares have risen for the past four years, but that won't make the increased prices any easier to stomach for frequent riders. One-way tickets will increase by 25 cents in all zones, 10-ride tickets will increase by $4.25 to $7.75 (depending on the zone), monthly passes will be $9 to $12.50 more (depending on the zone) and weekend passes will increase to $10 (up from $8). All rate hikes will go into effect on February 1, 2018.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the 2018 fare hikes will be supplemented by some service reductions in an attempt to close the agency's $45 million budget gap, largely due to cuts in state funding. Metra will eliminate five of the 691 trains it runs on weekdays and nix several weekend round trips on its Milwaukee District North line, among other service reductions.
CTA riders shouldn't be tempted to eye the latest Metra fare increases with a smug air of detachment. Crain's recently asked CTA president Dorval Carter if he could promise that fares would not be raised in 2018. His answer? An ominous, "I'm not promising anything."