A press release from Metra outlining a cut in fares between Crystal Lake and Harvard to $5:
Metra Board approves fare pilot programs
The Metra Board of Directors has agreed to test a new day pass, the consolidation of Metra’s outer zones and the reassignment of certain stations to a closer zone as part of an effort to attract riders and simplify its fare structure.
The ideas were among recommendations that emerged from a fare policy study that began in 2016.
The pilot programs will:
Introduce “Round Trip Plus,” a day pass for unlimited travel between any two zones, available only on the Ventra App, priced at twice the cost of a One-Way Ticket.
- The pass will increase customer convenience, simplify fare payment, save time and encourage use of the Ventra App.
- 75 percent of riders in a survey said they were likely or very likely to use such a product.
- Pilot will begin with the introduction of a new Ventra App in late summer.
Consolidate Zones K and M (there is no Zone L) into Zone J, thereby capping fares for trips that exceed 45 miles (about 1 percent of Metra riders come from those zones).
This will consolidate four Zone K stations (Kenosha, Antioch, McHenry and Woodstock) and one Zone M station (Harvard) with five existing Zone J stations (Round Lake Beach, Lake Villa, Long Lake, Ingleside and Fox Lake).
- Consolidating Zones J, K and M will cap the fares to stations in those zones and potentially mitigate ridership declines for trips that are currently the most expensive for riders from stations that have less service.
- Pilot will begin in July.
About 110 additional round-trip riders per day will be needed to recover the estimated revenue impact of $380,000.
[There is also one in the South Suburbs.]
The pilot programs will be evaluated after a year to determine if they resulted in ridership gains and if the changes should remain in place. Other recommendations from the fare study, including off-peak pricing, are still being evaluated for possible future action.
The fare study effort started in the summer of 2016, when Metra hired California-based Four Nines Technologies to study Metra’s fare structure, determine opportunities for changes and develop a model to help Metra evaluate the potential changes.
For more information on the fare study, click here.