CHICAGO (NWN) – Metra is restoring traffic on all rail lines to pre-pandemic levels and will not raise fares next year in the hope that more and more passengers will return to using Chicago commuter trains.
Metra approved a new operating budget of $ 900 million for 2022 on Wednesday. Metra is projected to start 2022 with passenger traffic around 25% of pre-pandemic levels and that it will grow to around 35% by the end of the year.
“After nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, there remains a great deal of uncertainty about how and when things will return to normal,” said Metra CEO / CEO Jim Derwinski.
He said the most responsible approach is to use cautious assumptions about passenger traffic growth while increasing service volumes so that Metra is ready when passengers are ready.
Metra’s budget projects will generate approximately $ 146 million in travel and other systemic revenues. The agency is also using about $ 300 million in federal funding for pandemic relief.
Metra is also introducing a new $ 6 day pass that gives passengers unlimited travel between any three zones. It will be sold as part of a one-year pilot program and will replace the current $ 10 pass, which provides unlimited travel across all zones. Metra believes the new pass will encourage people to use rail links for shorter journeys between Chicago’s suburbs or neighborhoods.