Metra Electric riders offered 15 percent discount on monthly pass in April

SHARE Metra Electric riders offered 15 percent discount on monthly pass in April
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Crews work on left over damage from a freight train derailment on the Metra Electric District line. | photo provided by Metra

Riders of the Metra Electric Line are being offered a 15 percent discount on their monthly pass for April, the transit agency announced Wednesday.

The discount is being offered as a mea culpa for the significant service disruptions riders endured throughout recent spells of severe weather and the Jan. 30 derailment of a CN train in south suburban Harvey.

Getting the discount, though, will require riders to purchase a paper ticket. Metra says that riders who purchase their monthly ticket through their phones won’t be able to get the discount because the agency is unable to “create a pass exclusive to the Metra Electric Line, with a separate price, within the Ventra App.”

As such, the discounted monthly passes can only be purchased through a ticket agent at Millennium Station, the Van Buren Street Station or through Transit Benefits providers, Metra said.

The monthly unlimited pass starts at $95.25 but increases to nearly $300 for riders traveling to the farthest zone on the line.

The discounted tickets will be stamped by an agent so that they can only be used on the Metra Electric Line, the agency said.

The discount offer comes as compensation following two weeks of service disruptions, including six full or partial days without any service on the line.

Between Jan. 30 and Tuesday, the Metra Electric Line saw only three days with regular service, Metra said.

The extreme cold that came Jan. 30 caused the wires that power the line to contract and rise higher than designed, Metra said. That same evening, a CN freight train derailed in Harvey, causing damage to more than two miles of wires and wire supports, in addition to knocking out two electrical substations.

As recently as Tuesday, service on the Metra Electric Line and South Shore Line was suspended when a storm coated the region in ice and disrupted the morning commute when trains were unable to draw power from the covered lines, officials said.

The conditions that caused the issues were rare, the agency pointed out. The subzero temperatures seen at the end of last month were the coldest to hit the area since 1985 and the half-inch of ice the storm on Tuesday deposited was the thickest in 71 years.

Metra provides refunds and discounts for service disruptions, the agency said. When fire destroyed a Metra Electric Line bridge in 2003, monthly pass-holders were provided prorated refunds when service was shut down for eight days.

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