CHICAGO — The board of the Chicago Transit Authority on Tuesday unanimously approved its 2013 budget, which includes price hikes for many of its passes and more than doubles the cost of a ride from O'Hare Airport.
The basic $2.25 fare per ride will remain the same.
But a one-day pass will increase from $5.75 to $10, a three-day pass will go from $14 to $20, and seven-day passes will increase from $23 to $28. Thirty-day passes jump from $86 to $100.
The CTA will add a $2.75 surcharge for rail riders coming into the city from O'Hare, bringing the total fare for riders to $5.
However, after complaints from city residents who work at O'Hare, CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski said the CTA will waive the O'Hare surcharge for riders with a Chicago Card Plus for six months and use the time to devise a way to give a discount to those workers.
The CTA said the fare increases are expected to generate about $56 million in new revenue. They defended the hikes, saying Chicago offers some of the most affordable rates compared with other major U.S. cities.
The fare increase will take effect Jan. 14.
CTA officials are touting the $1.39 billion budget as a step in the right fiscal direction. In a written statement, the CTA said the new budget eliminates a projected $165 million deficit while continuing to invest in infrastructure.
"Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, our goal has been to once and for all fix the CTA’s troubled finances; modernize our infrastructure; and protect our bus and rail service, as well as the jobs that provide it,” CTA President Forrest Claypool said.
“This fiscally responsible budget moves us away from the past legacy of ‘doomsday’ budgets that have had dreadful consequences for our customers. We are moving forward and building a modern CTA that better serves customers and creates economic benefits for our region,” Claypool said.
Also included in the operating budget is the CTA's "crowd reduction" plan, which increases service on trains and 48 bus routes while canceling or reducing service on other routes, including the No. 11 Lincoln Avenue bus. A spokeswoman for the CTA said the savings from discontinuing certain routes were reinvested to expand service elsewhere.