What to know about Metra's test $100/month pass plus integration with Pace, CTA
Starting July 1, suburban and Chicago transit passengers can take advantage of unprecedented, seamless travel on Metra, Pace and the Chicago Transit Authority.
That date marks the debut of Metra's $100 Super Saver monthly pass, a pilot project that runs for three months, and a $30 Regional Connect Pass for Pace and the CTA. Combined they will offer unlimited rides on all three systems.
It's a revolution for riders used to various fares with complicated rules and limits.
"This is really a game-changer for the region," Metra Executive Director Jim Derwinski said at a meeting June 15.
"It's not true integrated fares yet, but this is a good step in that direction. This will provide us, the CTA, Pace and RTA with tremendous amounts of data."
Here are five things to know about the new passes that went on sale Monday.
• The deal works only when you buy a Metra monthly pass and a Regional Connect Pass.
• Metra is currently offering the $100 all-you-can-ride Super Saver monthly pass as a pilot program between July and September. It's cheaper than a typical monthly pass, whose cost is based on travel between zones. Officials said they will assess the new pass's success after three months.
• The Regional Connect Pass will continue to be sold at $30 with monthly Metra passes regardless of any revisions the commuter railroad makes after Sept. 30.
• Regional Connect Passes can be bought in conjunction with monthly Metra passes from the Ventra app or through Metra ticket agents.
• The Regional Connect fare will replace two products offered to Metra customers with monthly passes -- the $55 Link-Up Pass that offered unlimited rides on Pace but was good just on CTA rush-hour trips, and the $30 PlusBus Pass for Pace use only.
The agencies estimate passengers could save $200 a month with the Super Saver and Regional Connect matchup. Derwinski said Metra will start seeing the sales trends right away starting with Monday sales.
The changes and price reductions come as Metra, Pace and CTA seek to build up ridership decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are all working to bring passengers back to transit and simplify travel across the region," Pace Chairman Rick Kwasneski said in a statement.