First CTA fare increases in 9 years take effect on Sunday

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - CTA riders should expect to shell out more money to ride buses and trains as a series of rate hikes take effect on Sunday.

Bus fares will be increased to $2.25 and train fares will jump to $2.50, according to the CTA. In addition, a 30-day unlimited ride pass will cost an additional $5, and reduced fare rides will be increased by 10 cents for bus travel and 15 cents for rail travel.

The last time the CTA raised fares — also a 25 cent increase — was in 2009, the CTA said.

All other fares and passes, including discounted student fares, will remain at their current prices, the CTA said.

The agency announced plans to raise fares in November. At the time, CTA President Dorval Carter said he understood riders might be angered by the increase.

“This is not something that I wanted to do,” Carter said. “It is not something that I had planned to do. I’ve gone nine years without having done this. No other transit system in the country has gone that long without raising their fares.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel blamed the hike on a $33 million cut in state funding for the CTA.

“The state cut the CTA by $33 million. So I said, `One, you’re not gonna cut any aspect of service. In fact, they expanded service on the South Side. Two, you’ve got to find cuts inside management before you go to commuters. Third, the state has cut us. Fourth, the budget is less by $9.7 million. And fifth, we’ve gone eight years without a fare increase,” Emanuel said in November.

In December, the Chicago Transit Board agreed to raise fares when they approved a $1.51 billion operating budget that will keep bus and rail service at the same levels as last year.