Why I support CTA's increased price for weekly, monthly passes

I approve of the proposed increase in price for CTA passes.

I know that may not be a popular stance, judging from some comments here. But here’s why.

  1. The CTA hasn’t had a fare increase since 2009. And yet it has greatly improved the rider experience. Just a few examples: Additional safety with cameras at every rail station; cleaned up stations under the Station Renewal Program; seven rehabbed stations on the north end of the Red Line, to name just three.
  2. The CTA promises not to raise fares again through at least 2015. By then that would mean just one increase in six years.
  3. Increasing the price for those who buy passes is the right demographic group to do that for. Tourists won’t mind paying more for the one- and three-day passes. Those buying monthly passes probably are employed and should be OK with the 16 percent increase — especially since the fare has been the same since 2009. I’m a bit more concerned about those buying weekly passes, as they may be lower wage earners. But they might be better off paying by the ride. Check my analysis to see.

What do you think? You can voice your opinion at two public hearings:

6 p.m. Monday, December 10
CTA Headquarters
567 W. Lake St. – 2nd Floor

6 p.m. Monday, December 17
Westinghouse College Prep
3223 W. Franklin Blvd. – Auditorium

And, you can tell us in this simple poll.

poll by twiigs.com


Leave a comment
  • fb_avatar

    It's kind of missing the elephant in the room to say that the CTA has improved the ridership experience since 2009 without mentioning the 2010 service cuts--18 percent of rail service and 9 percent of bus service. Those were huge cuts. Yes, some of that service has since been restored, but far from all. As much as I appreciate the renovation of the north side Red Line stations, it doesn't change the fact that we're going to be paying more money for less service than ever before under the proposed budget.

  • In reply to Eli Naeher:

    I think you got the numbers backwards, but the point is correct.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to jack:

    Ah, you're right, thanks for the correction.

  • Essentially the question with regard to the main post is whether Peterson's promises are believable, given that he has lied before. Sort of like George Ryan saying that the Tollways would be free.

    The other question is that while some of the stated improvements are based on national trends (such as money for the cameras being provided by Homeland Security), whether CTA going into hock to pay for such things as the 5000s, bus overhauls, etc. will save enough money, or the passengers will eventually have to pay off the bonds through their fares.

  • Guaranteeing that you're going to go for 2+ years without an increase is the height of stupidity!
    That's what put Metra into a bind when they went with a 32% increase this year.
    The other problem is saying that monthly buyers are employed & they can afford it.
    It's the damn fools that pay cash every time.
    As someone who actually rides the buses on the South Side, it's very different from the North Side where I live.
    Every ride on the South Side has at least one person trying to scam a free ride from the driver. One excuse after another: I just bought that card, it is within two hours & on & on.
    Get out of the cash business & get into a totally reusable system, which this Ventra won't do since those supposedly poor people won't be able to use the damn thing!
    As for the L on the South Side, you'll never see someone hawking socks or peanuts north of Roosevelt!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I don't like doing this, but Scooter is right.

    We might as well be better off paying by the fare and getting Chicago Cards instead of investing in this Ventra garbage if it all turns into just that: garbage.

    I was on the 63rd bus a few weeks ago, and near Englewood (oh god, here comes the hawks) came one of those scamming those for either cash or a free ride. Sadly, the driver does nothing. Is it a case of public safety that the driver does nothing or is it something else? I don't know...

    I hate how Chicago is divided...

  • The assumption was that CTA was paying Cubic $450 million over 10 years to collect fares. Apparently you and Scooter don't see that function happening, no matter the medium of payment.

  • Comments:

    * Someone with more energy than me should perform an analysis on the amount of fuel burned while buses are waiting for the cash customers (specifically, the ones who aren't trying to scam a ride) to load their $2.25 (nice round number) into the system. Aside: Why is it that those people so often seem to bother digging out their change only when it's time to pay? Another aside: I understand that many of them can't afford to pay in advance with passes. Still ...

    * Cameras? Please. How likely is it that they'll _stop_ crime? Their only possible benefit will occur afterward (catching the filmed hoodlum).

  • The C.T.A., in spite of the deteriorating service I have noticed since my 2006 return to Chicago is still a good deal. But where I think some weeks when buying a pass I would be ahead and others I would lose money, the hike on those 1,3,7,and 30 day passes will no longer offer me any savings so I will need to use the dreaded machines in the train stations. Good thing my travels take me into those edifices as a matter of course. If I was bus only rider I would be upset.

  • I assume those are the same people who wait until the cashier tells them their total before hunting for their wallets or even whipping out their checkbooks at the Jewel. Beyond re-education camps I don't know what can be done about them.

    I agree with Kevin--I can afford for the CTA to take $100 a month
    (pre-tax) out of what my job deposits in my bank accounts.

  • fb_avatar

    Personally, as someone who takes advantage of CTA's UPass, I don't have to worry about fares unless I'm either out of class for the semester or I'm traveling on Pace or METRA. That being said, I think the monthly passes could stand to use a slight price hike, but I also question those that get 1, 3, and 7 day passes because those typically are more aimed towards tourists than the typical "poor commuter" of Chicago. Anyone who relies on any of these, ESPECIALLY a 1-day, on a regular basis is royally screwed.

  • Emanuel was just on the radio and told Bill Cameron that there was no fare increase. So, there. Web version of story.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to jack:

    Here was refering to basic fares. There is no increase in basic fares.

  • In reply to Shaun Rager:

    Cameron noted that, but also that it was b.s.

    He isn't reducing service in the middle of December, supposedly also.

  • fb_avatar

    Hi Kevin, nice to see you! I was looking for information about how other cities have used Ridecheck software and I came across your blog. I am doing some ridership survey work for Topeka, the capital of Kansas. Keep up the good work getting dialogue going around this important issue.

Leave a comment