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.