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Metra board approves fare hike

File Art of Metra Passanger trains leaving Union Station Thursday, September 29, 2011 I Scott Stewart /Sun-Times

The Metra board Friday approved a fare hike package that will increase the cost of commuting on Metra trains an average of 25 percent starting in February.

Officials at the commuter rail agency pushed for the increases to help fill a $53.6 million budget deficit.

One-way fares in the AB zone – mostly trips within the city from downtown – will go from the current $2.50 to $3; 10-ride tickets will go from $20 to $27, and monthly tickets will go from $63.45 to $85.50.

In the AD zone – mostly from downtown to inner-ring suburbs – one-way fares will go from $4 to $4.75; 10-ride tickets will go from $32.30 to $42.75; and monthly tickets will go from $102.60 to $135.25.

In the AM zone – downtown to the farthest outlying towns – one-way fares will go from $8.50 to $9.25; 10-ride tickets will go from $68.45 to $83.25; and monthly tickets will go from $217.35 to $263.50.

The increased fares will take effect Feb. 1.

Don’t think about trying to stock up on the cheaper tickets now, though. Along with the fare increases Metra is making all one-way and 10-ride tickets bought from Saturday through Jan. 31 valid only through Feb. 29.

Among other changes that will take effect Feb. 1:

♦ One-way tickets will be valid for 14 days, instead of a year.

♦ The 10-ride discount works out to 10 rides for the price of 9, instead of the current 10 rides for the price of 8.

♦ 10-ride tickets will still be valid for a year, but refunds will only be given within three months of the day they’re bought.

♦ Monthly passes will be valid through the end of the month, instead of noon on the first day of the following month.

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