Now that Metra has proposed an average fare increase in 2012 of almost 30%, the CTA would look good by comparison if it suggests a 25% increase to avoid red ink next year.
CTA last raised its fare in 2009. Bus fares went up by 25 cents, and 25 or 50 cents for rail fares, depending on whether you used a Chicago Card or transit card.
A 25% increase would take rail fares to more than $2.80, and bus fares to $2.50. The question is whether that would be enough.
CTA President Forrest Claypool has been tight-lipped about the projected deficit to make up in the CTA budget for next year, so it's hard to tell whether a 25% increase would be enough. But he will probably have to release his budget proposal at the October board meeting, set for Oct. 13. Then there will be public hearings later in October. The board may vote on the budget - and any proposed fare increase - at the Nov. 9 meeting.
And remember, as far as I know, negotiations on new union contracts have not yet begun. So it seems there is plenty to sort out before the budget and possible fare hikes are announced.