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updated: 3/7/2017 4:40 PM

It's your chance to give Metra advice on fare structure

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  • Metra could exchange its 10-ride passes for one- or seven-day versions.

    Metra could exchange its 10-ride passes for one- or seven-day versions.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

Seven-day train passes? Discounts for students? Bargain prices during slow periods?

Metra riders can opine on these topics through a survey the railroad is conducting in preparation for changes to its zone-based fare system. The online questionnaire is available through March 31 at metrarail.com.

The results of the quiz will influence the fare revamp, expected after a consultants' report is finished this summer.

Currently, tickets and passes are based on the distance traveled, but "different fare options can encourage different riding behavior," Executive Director Don Orseno said in a statement.

Survey questions include:

• Is Metra's current fare structure easy to understand and is it fair?

• Would you consider buying a one-day or a seven-day pass?

• If weekend passes include Friday evenings, would you purchase it?

• If it was cheaper, would you switch from traveling at rush-hour to using trains that arrive downtown after 9:30 a.m. and leave the city before 3 p.m. or after 7 p.m.? How much of a discount would persuade you to change your routine?

• Would you support a customer loyalty program that offers discounts the more you ride?

• Who should be eligible for discounts?

Another variable Metra will consider is congestion pricing, where passengers would pay a premium to travel during rush hour.

The agency saw a 1.5 percent dip in ridership in 2016. Planners want to encourage more reverse-commuters and passengers during off-peak hours.

Metra is paying up to $315,300 to Four Nines Technologies, a California-based consulting firm, to analyze existing fares, compare the system with other transit agencies and recommend improvements.

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