Cash fare increase on agenda at Pace public budget hearings

CHICAGO (STMW) - Pace bus riders who pay cash might have to shell out an extra quarter for their commute under a new proposal for the transit agency’s 2016 budget.

The possible 25-cent fare hike—which wouldn’t apply to customers using Ventra cards—will be up for discussion at a series of public budget hearings later this month, including four in Chicago, Pace announced Tuesday.

The system would bring Pace in line with similar policies on the Illinois Tollway and CTA to cut the costs of collecting and handling cash, officials said.

Pace’s proposed budget is balanced and includes $7.6 million of new service, including $6.6 million for a full year of service implemented later this year and an additional $1 million of new service to begin in 2016, the agency said in a statement.

The Regional ADA Paratransit budget is also balanced and would keep fares the same, though they could rise later if an $8.5 million state grant isn’t approved in Springfield.

“We are excited about the expansion of services contained in the budget and what that means for the mobility of our customers, especially as the economy improves and demand increases for work-related travel,” Pace chairman Richard Kwasneski said in the statement.

The Chicago hearings are scheduled for:

—11 a.m. Oct. 21 at Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Ave.;
—6 p.m. Oct. 27 at Olive Harvey College, 10001 S. Woodlawn Ave.;
—2 p.m. Oct. 28 at Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave.; and
— 3 p.m. Oct. 29 at Arturo Velasquez West Side Technical Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave.

For a list of hearings in the suburbs, visit