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RTA To Give Final Approval To Fare Hikes At CTA, Metra, Pace

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Today is the day that pending fare increases at the CTA, Metra and Pace are expected to win final approval.

The Regional Transportation Authority board is the last stop for fare increases and related budgetary matters. It began pushing for the fare increases even before the state of Illinois surprised transit officials by imposing a permanent collection fee equal to 2 percent of its sales tax collections.

All three agencies responded with fare hikes, and Metra with service adjustments.

CTA board member Kevin Irvine said he voted reluctantly Wednesday to forward CTA's $1.51 billion 2018 operating budget and fare increases to the RTA for final approval.

"Fare increases will be very painful," he said. "I think they'll have a proportionately greater impact on lower income people."

A CTA spokesman said, without the surprise collection fee, the agency most likely would not have raised fares. He said the $33 million that CTA alone had to find was the equivalent of eliminating 50 bus routes.

CTA was the last of the agencies to approve its 2018 budget.

CTA is raising bus and train fares by 25 cents, and monthly passes by $5.

Metra will raise ticket prices on One-Way tickets by 25 cents in all zones. Monthly Passes will increase between $9.00 to $12.50, depending on the zone, and 10-Ride tickets will jump between $4.25 to $7.75, depending on the zone. Weekend Passes go up from $8.00 to $10.00.

Pace, which mostly serves the suburbs, has approved raising its bus fares from $1.75 to $2 next year.

The CTA and Pace increases are scheduled to take effect Jan. 7; the Metra increase kicks in Feb. 1.

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