Monday, May 13, 2019

Metra upgrades and slashing Metra Electric fares...

[VIDEO] As there is a bill being proposed in Springfield that would fares on the Metra Electric line in the city, perhaps I should share this story. This aired on CBS Chicago on May 9, 2019 and was shot at the Metra station at 115th Street or in Metra parlance Kensington. It illustrates the need for upgrades to Metra stations.

The aforementioned bill to cut fares to ride the Metra Electric line within the city limits is designed to make riding that route within the city a more attractive option and was introduced by local state representative Marcus Evans (D - 33rd District). From the Tribune on May 7, 2019:
The bill, introduced by Illinois State Rep. Marcus Evans, Jr., a Democrat, would set fares for Metra Electric trips within the city as equal to CTA rail fares, which are $2.50 at the regular rate. Metra Electric fares within the city currently range from $4 to $5.50 for a single ride.

South Side community activists have long discussed converting the Metra Electric line, which runs from downtown into the south suburbs, into a rapid-transit line with more frequent stops to make up for a lack of rapid transit options on the far South Side.

“It’s a quality-of-life issue,” said Linda Thisted, co-chair of the Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric, which supports the bill. “A lot of people can’t afford Metra Electric fares so they take really slow buses. This could transform the South Side and the South Shore.”
Expansion of South Side service through Metra could be less expensive than a parallel expansion of the CTA’s Red Line south from 95th Street to 130th Street, which will cost about $2.3 billion. The CTA is planning the extension, though it does not yet have the money to pay for it.

Metra said it was willing to discuss the proposal, which also would allow Metra Electric riders to use the Ventra card to get on the train.

“We would look forward to working with Rep. Evans and others to determine whether doing this is feasible and affordable,” said Metra spokesman Michael Gillis.

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