Riders on CTA, Metra and Pace public transit in the Chicago area could be facing a new round of fare hikes after the Illinois General Assembly slashed funding for the agencies' reduced-fare programs.
The Chicago Tribune reports the state legislature nearly halved the subsidy that supports the agencies' costs of offering reduced fares to students, senior citizens and disabled riders for the fiscal year that began July 1.
According to the Tribune, even if the state legislature had maintained the full amount of funding the Illinois Department of Transportation asked for -- about $34 million -- to support the program, it still would not have covered the agencies' full cost -- more than $100 million -- of providing the cheaper fares. Their state funding was cut to $17.6 million.
Though no formal plans for fare hikes or service cuts have yet to be announced by any of the agencies, both are a real possibility in 2014, according to Fox Chicago.
The CTA increased the prices of all its multi-ride passes this year and Metra made its biggest-ever fare increase last year. The CTA has also, essentially, increased the cost of riding its trains and buses for those who opt out of its forthcoming Ventra payment system. Riders who use a Chicago Card or buy a single-ride fare to take the train between O'Hare and downtown also saw their fare increase from $2.25 to $5 this year.
The last time CTA increased its single-ride fare was 2009.