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Metra seeks public feedback on proposed fare structure

Metra announced Wednesday, June 21, that it is asking for its customers and the public to comment on the biggest proposed change to its fare structure in its history, a plan for 2024 that would reduce the number of fare zones to four from 10 and change some of the fare options available.

The intent of the proposal is to create a fare structure that customers can easily understand, that will encourage ridership, that will simplify onboard fare collection and that meets Metra’s financial and technical constraints. The effort conforms with goals in Metra’s newly adopted strategic plan, including enhancing service to grow ridership, ensuring the riding experience is safe, easy and enjoyable, and innovating to become more efficient and effective.

Metra’s current fare zone system has 10 zones, and prices for some tickets are based on the number of zones traveled. Under the new proposal, there would be only four fare zones (see proposed zone map here). Downtown stations would be assigned to Zone 1 and outlying stations would be assigned to Zones 2 through 4 based on a combination of distance from downtown, service patterns and ridership characteristics on each line, which vary. Generally, stations within and near Chicago would be in Zone 2, stations in an intermediate service zone would be in Zone 3, and remaining stations would be in Zone 4.

Under the proposed new fare structure (see proposed fare chart here):

  • One-way tickets to the downtown zone, Zone 1, would cost $3.75 from Zone 2, $5.50 from Zone 3 and $6.75 from Zone 4. The new one-way fare from all zones would be equal to or lower than the current one-way fare. To encourage non-downtown trips, all one-way tickets for trips that do not include downtown as a starting point or destination would cost $3.75, no matter the distance.
  • A day pass priced at twice the cost of a one-way ticket would be valid for unlimited rides for a single day within the zones selected. The current $6 and $10 day passes, introduced as promotional fares during the pandemic, would be discontinued.
  • A bundle of five day passes would replace the 10-ride ticket. The bundle would be priced at 9.5 times the cost of a one-way ticket and would only be available via the Ventra app. The passes could be used on non-consecutive days.
  • A monthly pass would be priced at 20 times the cost of a one-way ticket: $75 for Zone 2, $110 for Zone 3 and $135 for Zone 4. This pricing is below the cost of pre-COVID monthly passes. The current $100 flat-rate “super saver” monthly pass, which was introduced as a promotional fare during the pandemic, would be discontinued.
  • Metra would no longer allow riders to pay “incremental fares” – a surcharge to travel beyond the zones indicated on their ticket. Instead, riders would be required to buy a ticket valid for the trip they are taking.
  • Reduced fares of roughly 50 percent for seniors, K-12 students and active duty military personnel would be available for one-way, day pass, day pass bundle and monthly tickets.

The following fare products and prices would not change:

  • Metra would continue to sell the $30 regional connect pass to monthly pass buyers for unlimited rides on CTA and Pace.
  • Metra would continue to sell a $7 Saturday, Sunday, or holiday day pass. A $10 weekend pass still would be available on the Ventra app only.

For more details about this proposal and how to provide feedback, please click here. Feedback can be sent to [email protected].

Click here to see a Q&A about the 2024 Fare Plan

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