Price jumps on 10-ride Metra tickets

Caption
(Jim Dallke – jdallke@shawmedia.com)
Metra riders wait Friday to board the 11 a.m. Northwest Line at Pingree Road. Metra increased the fare of its 10-ride tickets Friday. A 10-ride ticket will now cost the same as 10 regular one-way tickets, instead of nine.

Metra riders now have to fork over more money for the popular 10-ride ticket after a rate increase went into effect Friday.

In McHenry County, which is in Zones K and M, the ticket price increased to $82.50 from $74.25 and to $92.50 from $83.25. The increase ranged from $2.75 to $9.25, depending on the zone.

The increase comes a year after the agency’s largest increase ever – about 30 percent for most riders.

Crystal Lake resident Ryan Zoleta takes the train from the Pingree Road Metra station to attend classes at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The junior almost always buys 10-ride passes.

“I don’t really like it at all,” Zoleta said Friday morning while waiting for a train at the Crystal Lake stop. “It’s going to hit me pretty hard.”

Ten-ride ticket users make up more than 20 percent of all Metra commuters.

More than half of customers use monthly passes, and the rest are single-ticket buyers. Neither of those groups saw a fare increase.

The new fare eliminates savings for 10-ride ticket buyers and makes the pass the equivalent of buying 10 one-way tickets.

“We’ve tried to make everyone aware of the change,” Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said. “The [price] change is actually in line with what other commuter rail systems across the country.”

Unused 10-ride tickets bought before Thursday can be used through Feb. 28. The tickets also can be upgraded or refunded for a $5 fee.

“If [riders] find that they have more [tickets] than they are going to use, they should turn them in,” Reile said. “It’s in the best interest of people to do that if the tickets are not expired and have the proper date stamped on them.”

Metra estimates that the increase will generate about $8.3 million in 2013 for capital improvements. The board voted to approve the 11 percent increase in November.

• Reporter Jim Dallke contributed to this report

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