Deerfield Commuters Feel Pinch of Metra Fare Hike
New price structure starts today.
Some Deerfield commuters will be making personal adjustments when Metra’s new pricing structure becomes effective today while others are taking it in stride.
Robert Feiger of Deerfield, who takes the train to Chicago on a regular basis, can afford the hike but feels for those who cannot. “Thirty-five percent is a bit expensive.” he said. Is it too much? “No, not for me, but it’s going to be too much for others.”
The monthly fare for people commuting from the Deerfield Road station to downtown Chicago goes from $116.10 per month to $149.50, according to Metra spokesperson Meg Reile. The 10-ride ticket price becomes $47.25 rather than $36.65. A one-ride fare is now $5.25 rather than $4.50.
“It’s still the cheapest way to get downtown,” Gary Holzman of Deerfield said echoing the view of many at the station Tuesday morning. “It’s been a few years (since the last increase). Hopefully this will be the last increase for many years.”
For others, like Vlad Lutsker of Buffalo Grove who commutes to Chicago from Deerfield on a daily basis, it will make a difference. “I have no choice,” he said. “I may have to cut back on cable television.”
The increase became necessary because Metra has been operating at a loss for several years. It has taken money from its capital reserves to meet operating expenses, according to Reile.
“If we keep doing that we won’t have the money to make necessary repairs to trains and the track,” Reile said. “It was going to become too big a hole to fill.”
Last year, Metra surveyed its riders to determine if they would rather have a smaller increase with a reduction of service or maintain the current level of service with a bigger hike. “No one wanted service cuts,” Reile said.
Commuters like Maria Wisniewski of Deerfield understand and accept the situation. “I feel it’s necessary,” she said. “I’m willing to do my part.”
Linda Rongey of Highland Park just got a job in the city and was looking forward to commuting to work on a train rather than taking her car every day. She will feel the pinch of the higher prices.
“I have two kids, one in college and one in the Marines (who just graduated). This is going to make things harder,” Rongey said. “I was looking forward to taking the train. It drops me off right in front (of the new job).”
Another person who understands the necessity of the increase is David Kolton of Deerfield. He understands the price of oil is up, but he and his family will not have as much to spend. “Yea, sure,” he said about the effect of the new prices. “There will be less money for my family.
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