Board approves fare hikes, with reduced increase on passes
The CTA board thought about it for an extra day and decided Thursday to raise fares on passes by 15% instead of 20%, but went along with Ron Huberman's suggested fare hikes on individual bus and rail rides. And as expected, there will be no service cuts.
For those with a Chicago Card or Plus, the individual bus fare goes up 25 cents to $2, and the rail fare increases 50 cents to $2.25. The 10% bonus for a $20 fill up on the card disappears.
Those paying with a Transit Card will see a similar 25-cent increase on buses, but just a quarter fare hike on trains because they already pay $2. The cash fare on buses goes to $2.25 from $2.
As I noted in my fare-hike analysis last month, the Chicago Card user paying per ride will see a 30% drop in purchasing power -- he'll now get 8.9 rides per $20 come Jan. 1, as opposed to the 12.6 rides he gets now. The Transit Card user sees just an 11% drop in ride purchasing power.
Passes go up 15%, not 20%. The board apparently wants to sell more passes, because it rejected the 20% increase recommended by Huberman and raised the price by about 15% instead. So a monthly pass will now cost $86, not $90 -- an $11 hike over the current $75 price. From the press release:
"Under the revised budget, a 1-Day pass would increase from $5 to $5.75; a 3-Day pass would increase from $12 to $14; a 7-Day pass would go from $20 to $23; and a 30-Day pass would increase from $75 to $86. The current 2-Day and 5-Day passes will be eliminated. University Pass (U-Pass) fares, which are currently $0.70 per day, will increase by 15 percent for the Fall 2009 term."
If you have a Chicago Card/Plus and go to work at least 20 days a month, you are better off buying a monthly pass. It will cost you $90 to pay individual fares 20 days a month, or $4 more than with a monthly pass -- and that's without a transfer. If you transfer, you'll fork over another $10 -- and that's $10 you wouldn't pay with a monthly pass.
If you're enrolled in the CTA's Transit Benefit Fare Program at your work place, and you're in the 25% tax bracket, the $86 monthly pass will actually cost you $55 in after-tax dollars.
Note to MK: So really, why would riders not want to buy the monthly pass with their Chicago Card/Plus? It's cheaper than using the Transit Card for each ride, and your value is protected against loss.