Metra extends bargain $100 fare program through end of the year intended to entice riders
Metra will keep selling its new $100 all-zone monthly pass through 2022 as it's proved popular among riders.
The agency introduced the "Super Saver" pass July 1 as a three-month pilot project set to end Sept. 30. Officials said the product's success encouraged them to extend the expiration to Dec. 31.
The bargain fare, intended to bolster ridership deflated by the COVID-19 pandemic, provides unlimited rides.
July ridership was the highest of 2022, according to the Regional Transportation Authority's most recent data.
"Metra's recovery from the pandemic requires that we look at all the options on the table to reinvent our service by listening to My Metra riders, creating new schedules, and exploring fare incentives that allow riders to return or try our system at affordable rates," Executive Director Jim Derwinski said in a statement.
"We've been fortunate that regional sales taxes, which support our operations, have remained strong, allowing us to use some of our federal COVID-19 relief funding in more creative ways that directly benefit our riders."
The $100 rate is about half the price of monthly passes between downtown Chicago and Arlington Heights, which cost $195.75, or between Naperville and Union Station, which are $210.25, for example.
"Put simply, this is a great deal -- especially when higher prices at the pump and the grocery store are impacting everyone's bottom line," Derwinski said. "Metra is already an extremely affordable alternative to driving, but this pass deal makes the choice even clearer."
Daily ridership in July 2019 was 6,525,518, according to the Regional Transportation Authority, but commuter numbers plummeted when COVID-19 emerged in 2020.
July 2022 daily ridership stands at 2,221,477. It's a spike from the July 2021 tally of 1,608,073.
"Super Saver" passes may be purchased using the Ventra app or from ticket agents. They will display the buyer's original zone and destination zone but are good across the system.
Reduced-fair passes for students, children and eligible seniors currently cost $70.