CTA pass increases lead to lower revenue

After the CTA raised prices for all of its passes in January, the transit agency is now reporting that revenue is about 2.5 percent less than budgeted, according to the Sun-Times.

CTA President Forrest Claypool told the CTA's board today that riders are switching to pay-as-you-go and away from passes. The seven-day pass increased 22 percent, from $23 to $28. If a rider just used the CTA to ride a train twice a day, five days a week, pay-as-you-go would cost $22.50, a $5.50 savings over the $28 pass price.

That kind of math makes it to see why riders are turning a cold shoulder to passed, particularly the seven-day pass.

Claypool insists that the reduced revenue is “not an issue” in a budget of $1.35 billion and said CTA will make adjustments accordingly, such as not filling vacancies, the Sun-Times reported.


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  • I realize people commuting to/from Evanston are probably an exception since we often have the option to take Metra instead of CTA. However, I just wanted to chime in and say that when the CTA passes went up, I switched my monthly from CTA to Metra. Even after all of the Metra fare increases, it is cheaper to go Ravenswood-Davis on the Metra now (with a monthly pass), and they offer much more reliable service than trying to transfer to an outbound Purple Line train in the morning (seems like a 20 minute wait at Belmont every single time).

    Granted, I'm still probably going to use the CTA for about $20/month in single rides. But me going from $100/month to $20/month is going to cost the CTA almost $1000 over 12 months. And that's just one person!

  • In reply to Nirvana91:

    You put meat on the fallacy of Carole Brown crying in "Ask Carole" approximately in 2005 that "a fare from Kenilworth is less than CTA fare." Turned out she left out that she was referring to monthly passes, and that if one wanted to ride as extensive a grid, CTA would still get some fares (such as on feeders from Ogilvie station).

    Thanks. Now you see why I don't buy what CTA says.

  • In reply to Nirvana91:

    PS I guess my math may have been a little off. The previous monthly was, I believe, $86. So I probably should have calculated off that instead of the $100 which I am not paying. Still, assuming I spend $20/month on the CTA instead of the previous $86, it is $792 loss per year for CTA. Not quite $1000, but still nothing to sneeze at.

  • 1. You mean that Claypool was actually at the meeting? Sketchy minutes from previous meetings didn't say that.

    2. There was an article about a month ago that Metra staff told its board that the removal of the 10 rides for 9 discount on the 10 ride ticket was not working; it was forcing riders to other fare types and should be reconsidered. Seems like CTA is almost admitting the same, but unlike Metra. CTA never admits a mistake.

    3. You really have to wonder how all the free and discount rides starting mid-May are going to affect the sales of various forms of passes, and how CTA is going to juggle the books to reflect that.

  • In reply to jack:


  • The other news item, from Crain's,* is that Greg Hinz was given a tour of the [cough cough] Block 37 station. From what he got, $172 million of CTA money went into something that won't be used in the conceivable future, and it would take $150 million more to complete it.

    Bringing up Ask Carole again, I wonder how much more it would cost just to install the crossover and open the State-Washington station. At the time, while she indicated that she couldn't support the Airport Express without numerous conditions, she said to go ahead for the sole reason that a building was not over the site, so the crossover was justified.

    Hinz chalked it off to "Daley" hubris," apparently the cause of lots of messes he left at the end of his 22 year reign. And I mean reign.
    * Originally found on chicagobus.org, and requires cookies.

  • In reply to jack:

    Cool link. Opening up that station and putting in the crossover is the only thing I can think of in the short term that makes sense given the CTA finances. But probably won't get done anytime soon.

  • Fret not! Once the gouging begins when the Ventra card goes in to service, CTA will be flush with cash, ready to be squandered and misappropriated.

  • In reply to boofoochoochoo:

    If you believe what CTA said in the news last week, not so much, after waiving certain fees and losing the guarantee.

    But as far as squandered and misappropriated, that's a given, reenforced by the Block 37 story. I wonder how it adds up: $102 million minus the lawsuit settlement for the NABI buses, $172 million for Block 37, which has been admitted, plus gawd knows what else.

  • They didn't realize this was going to happen?

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Apparently they didn't realize when the budget passed that much of anything would happen.

    Another example is that the May 2013 Financial Report states that labor is over budget, for reasons including bus driver training. After publicizing that the Red Line project would result in hiring 400 new bus drivers, didn't someone miss something there?

    But I see that Karen Walker (authoress of "fuel is under budget" in 2009) apparently is no longer CFO (since late March).

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