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updated: 9/13/2017 8:55 PM

Commuter rail agency proposing fare hikes, service cuts

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CHICAGO -- Chicago's commuter rail agency is considering hiking fares by up to 20 percent and cutting weekend service.

Metra officials say higher costs for staffing and material and cuts in subsidies by the state of Illinois are behind the possible fare increases.

A proposal endorsed by the majority of Metra's directors on Wednesday would boost 10-ride passes between 8 percent and 12.6 percent, and monthly passes by 4 percent to 8.4 percent.

Metra passenger revenues are up by 4 percent through August 2017 compared to last year due to fare increases imposed earlier this year. However, the number of trips dropped 781,000 or 1.5 percent.

Metra riders have seen fares increase by about 18.6 percent cumulatively since 2015. Officials say the increases have covered higher operating expenses, including salaries, and capital needs such as an automatic braking system.

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