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CTA OKs Price Hikes For Passes, Exempts O'Hare Workers From Blue Line Surcharge

CHICAGO (CBS) -- When low-paid part-time employees from O'Hare International Airport complained loud and long that a $5 fare for Blue Line rides leaving the airport was too much, someone listened.

The CTA Board on Tuesday, when approving the agency's 2013 budget and fare increases for those who use passes, exempted airport employees from the $2.75 surcharge for Blue Line rides starting at O'Hare. CTA will waive the extra fare until July 1 for those who use Chicago Cards and the Chicago Card Plus, said spokesman Brian Steele. At that time, CTA intends to have special fare cards in place that will identify the holder as an airport employee and exempt them, no matter how they pay.

CTA Exempts O'Hare Workers From Blue Line Surcharge

Airport employees complained fiercely about the surcharge at two recent public hearings. The new $5 fare for rides from O'Hare will apply to others who pay cash, or use single-ride magnetic-stripe passes, expected to be primarily tourists.

Fares for CTA passholders will increase Jan. 14. The price of the popular 30-day pass will increase from $86 to $100. Weekly passes will cost $28 instead of the current $23. Three-day passes will increase from $14 to $20, and the one-day pass will increase from $5.75 to $10, an increase of more than 70 percent.

The price of the monthly Metra "Link-up" Pass will increase from $45 to $55, and the reduced fare for seniors will rise to $1 from 85 cents, although low-income seniors will continue to ride free.

There is one decrease -- the fare for students will drop from 85 cents to 75 cents, in a bid that CTA President Forrest Claypool said, is designed to make it easier for children to take buses to and from school.

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