With the average Metra fare increasing about 30% effective Wednesday, the transit agency is losing its big advantage over the CTA in pricing on monthly passes.
That's particularly true at stations closer to downtown Chicago. Take Rogers Park, for instance. I can remember a number of my friends and neighbors saying they were switching to the Metra Union Pacific North Line when CTA monthly pass rates increased from $75 to $86 in 2008. That was when a Zone B monthly pass on Metra cost just over $63 - a monthly savings of $23. You could pay for about 10 venti Starbucks coffees with those savings.
But now it costs $85.50 for that same monthly pass - a 34.5% increase. And just 50 cents less than the CTA monthly pass. You can't buy much with 50 cents these days.
So now that Metra can't really compete on price, I guess all it has is a better riding experience over the CTA.