Commuters Rail Against CTA Fare Hikes

By Geoff Ziezulewicz on December 19, 2012 10:15am 

 People wait for ‘L’ trains at the Washington and Wells stop Friday evening. Brown, Green, Orange, Purple and Pink lines were delayed during Friday evening's busy rush hour.
People wait for ‘L’ trains at the Washington and Wells stop Friday evening. Brown, Green, Orange, Purple and Pink lines were delayed during Friday evening's busy rush hour.
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DNAinfo/Tanveer Ali

UPTOWN — It's un-fare.

CTA riders expressed outrage and frustration Wednesday at news that a series of massive fare hikes will take effect next month.

Under a plan approved Tuesday that will start on Jan. 14, a one-day pass will increase from $5.75 to $10, a three-day pass will rise from $14 to $20 and a monthly pass will jump $14 to $100.

Riders coming into the city from O'Hare will have to pay a $2.75 surcharge, bringing that total fare to $5.

Bharat Bhushar has been riding the "L" from the Red Line's Wilson Stop to his downtown job for the past six months. But with the cost of his monthly pass increasing, the 33-year-old scientist said he is considering ditching the CTA altogether, because a monthly parking pass would only cost him about $20 more.

"If the CTA pass increases, I don't think there is much difference," Bhushar said.

Shivering on the Red Line's Wilson stop platform Wednesday morning, Tyree Richards said he was bothered by the fare hike, which CTA officials said will bring in about $56 million in new revenue.

"I think it's unfair," said the 21-year-old Edgewater resident, who just finished his night shift at Target and uses a seven-day pass. "They hit our pockets."

While angered, Richards said the hike will not change how he commutes.

"I'm just gonna pay it," he said. "You don't have a choice."

Queen Omoko, 56, takes the Red Line and two buses to get to her job, and has used the CTA for the past decade.

"I object to that," the childcare worker said of the increase. "I don't like that."

Quintrell Perkins, 21, said the increase is too much, especially the $5 increase for a weekly pass.

"If it was like a dollar, it would still upset me a little bit but it would be manageable," said the student, who was catching the Red Line and buses to a job in Skokie Wednesday. "The economy is already bad enough. Some people have it and some people don't have it."

CTA officials defended the hikes Tuesday, saying Chicago offers some of the most affordable rates compared with other major U.S. cities.

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