CTA riders get shot at budget, proposed fare hike

  • By Amy Lee
  • Transit reporter
  • October 28, 2008 @ 12:30 PM

Transit riders can voice opinions on proposed fare increases tomorrow night during the Chicago Transit Authority’s public hearing on its 2009 budget.

 The CTA’s budget calls for an increase of at least a quarter to ride the cities buses and trains  beginning in 2009.

Also, the cost of a 30-day pass is expected to rise to $90 from $75.

Critics have complained the fare increase further burdens low-income riders who are already grappling with high fuel and food prices. CTA leaders say the increase are needed to close a $42.2 million hole in the agency’s 2009 budget.

The meeting is scheduled to be held at 6 p.m. tomorrow at CTA headquarters, 567 W. Lake. 

The proposed fare hike comes during a time when an "informal" study by an advocacy group for transit riders found Chicago Transit Authority rates are among the highest in the nation.

The study found the nationwide average for a basic fare is $1.53, compared CTA's rate of $1.75 per bus ride or $2 for the El. Weekday passes nationwide average $17.80 and monthly passes average $58.43, while the CTA charges $24 for a weekly pass and $75 for a monthly pass.

The results of the survey are based on current CTA rates. The Citizens Taking Action survey results are similar to a 2007 Daily News analysis which found the CTA had the most expensive fares of the nation's largest transit agencies.

Another Daily News investigation found the CTA pays among the highest wages of any major U.S. urban transit system, devotes a bigger share of its operating budget to payroll than all but a few other big systems, and had created fiscal chaos by mismanaging its pension system.

Amy Lee is a Chicago-based journalist. She covers transit issues for the Daily News.