Consultants suggest rush-hour fee for Metra riders

Riders catching rush-hour Metra trains to Chicago and back home could pay more if officials follow a consultants' recommendations.

At a Wednesday meeting, project manager Cyndy Pollan of California-based Four Nines Technologies made recommendations that included charging more for morning inbound trains and afternoon outbound trains during peak times.

Directors took no action, saying they needed more time to study the report. Metra officials are also contemplating a 12.6 percent fare increase and possible service reductions to balance the 2018 budget.

One new product the consultants suggested is a one-day, unlimited ride pass. Another proposal is to stretch the popular weekend pass to include Friday nights.

Not all directors were on board with a recommendation to eliminate reduced fares for seniors, riders with disabilities and Medicare cardholders during the morning rush. Another suggestion was to eliminate reduced fare monthly passes.

Metra Director John Plante of Wilmette noted some ideas "fly in the face of good, easy transportation service. Some riders may say it's too much trouble."

Four Nines also proposed consolidating Chicago zones known as A and B and Metra's outermost zones, typically designated as J, K, L and M, and reducing the discount on 10-ride passes.

Board directors have a $315,300 contract with Four Nines.

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