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updated: 4/19/2017 6:23 PM

Survey: Metra commuters wouldn't change schedules for cheaper fares

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  • Sixty-four percent of 10-ride pass holders said in a recent survey that they wouldn't catch trains from the suburbs to downtown after 9:30 a.m. and return home before 3 p.m. or after 7 p.m. in exchange for a lower fare.

      Sixty-four percent of 10-ride pass holders said in a recent survey that they wouldn't catch trains from the suburbs to downtown after 9:30 a.m. and return home before 3 p.m. or after 7 p.m. in exchange for a lower fare.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

Many Metra regulars aren't ready for a fare revolution, according to the findings in a survey released Wednesday.

Metra is contemplating changing its traditional fare structure, which is based on distance. Options include offering seven-day passes or discounts for people traveling at off-peak hours.

The ultimate goal is to attract more riders and revenue for the commuter railroad.

But current riders overwhelmingly approved of the existing zoned system and thought it fair, according to a survey conducted by consultants Four Nines Technologies.

Commuters were also asked if they would opt for catching trains from the suburbs to downtown after 9:30 a.m. and return home before 3 p.m. or after 7 p.m. in exchange for a lower fare.

Eighty-four percent of monthly pass holders and 64 percent of 10-ride pass holders, who constitute the bulk of Metra's ridership, said no.

However, 51 percent of one-way passengers said yes, which means it may be reasonable to offer discounts to that bracket, the consultants said. Another group favoring cheaper tickets during non-rush hour times were people traveling from suburb to suburb.

The survey also found much interest in a one-day pass but little support for a seven-day pass.

There were 10,408 responses to the survey.

The consultants will dive deeper into the results and come back with recommendations in the coming months, CEO Don Orseno said.

"Just because we have an old fare structure doesn't mean it's not the right fare structure," Orseno said. "But you don't want to have an old fare structure and not investigate if there's something better we can do."

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