Metra (Chicago) to sell $100 flat-rate monthly pass

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Fenway

Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 25, 2022
Messages
103
Location
Boston, MA
This tells me their traditional monthly pass business is in shambles and may never return to 2019 levels. Chicago is not alone with this issue.


Metra is making Chicago area residents an offer that is too good to refuse – a $100 flat-rate “Super Saver” monthly pass valid for unlimited travel throughout the Chicago area. The new pass will be offered for a three-month pilot period starting in July.

“Put simply, this is a great deal. For the price of a tank of gas, or a trip to a baseball game, you can travel all over the Chicago area on Metra for a month,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Jim Derwinski. “High gas prices already make Metra an affordable option versus driving, but this new monthly ‘Super Saver’ pass makes the choice even clearer.”

Full fare “Super Saver” passes will cost $100, while a reduced fare pass for eligible seniors, K-12 students and children will cost $70. All riders on the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines also will pay the reduced fare rate, thanks to the Fair Transit South Cook Pilot, with the same stipulation that those passes are valid only on those two lines. The July passes will go on sale starting June 20.

Buying the new pass during the pilot program will be the same process as buying the regular Monthly Pass via the Ventra app and from ticket agents, with only a different price. The passes will look the same as the regular Monthly Pass and still display a zone pair (indicating the fare zones of the riders’ origin and destination stations), but conductors will know that all Monthly Passes are good for unlimited travel across all fare zones.

Metra will continue to sell the $6 Day Pass, valid for unlimited travel within one to three fare zones in a single day, and the $10 Day Pass, valid for unlimited travel systemwide in a single day.
 

daybeers

Conductor
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
1,603
Location
NHV
This tells me their traditional monthly pass business is in shambles and may never return to 2019 levels. Chicago is not alone with this issue.
This tells me their 9-5 suburban->downtown commuter business is in shambles and will never return to 2019 levels. Chicago is far from alone with this issue.
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
418
Wow, hell of a savings if you are one of the people back to commuting on Metra. That's less than the A-B zone monthly pass.
 

Fenway

Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 25, 2022
Messages
103
Location
Boston, MA
This tells me their 9-5 suburban->downtown commuter business is in shambles and will never return to 2019 levels. Chicago is far from alone with this issue.

Boston commuter rail is still down 65% - conductors on the northside service have told me that the only trains that are back to normal are before and after games at TD Garden.

@daybeers - as you said the issue is everywhere in North America

 

daybeers

Conductor
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
1,603
Location
NHV
@daybeers - as you said the issue is everywhere in North America
Because every agency and city have focused way too much on downtown 9-5 commuters. Hartford is a good example of a city that is struggling a lot since most workers are still remote. Pre-pandemic it was already dead after 7pm and on weekends; not enough housing, restaurants, entertainment, and grocery access.

While not knowing much about commuter rail schedules across the rest of the continent, I will say that MTA is probably the best poised to transition to a regional rail-type service, i.e. more even headways throughout the day, off-peak expresses, and more weekend service, along with lower fares (crucial for casual riders). Most lines are electrified and they have the equipment; well at least MNRR does. Take some trains out of the peak ours and spread them out.
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Messages
1,387
I haven't bought a monthly ticket in, well, years! I'm not sure I'll ever go back to ten rides a week - as it is I'm not even going through a ten ride a month (unless I do a couple extra days in the office). I see that Metra said (claimed?) that MED was back to pre-pandemic ridership, which seems suspicious to me - the ridership still seems light unless it's picked up mid-day and on weekends - or they their ridership figures were way off beforehand.

Sounds like a good deal, however, if you ride that much.
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
418
Some added news for this, in what seems to be an unprecedented sense of cooperation between Chicago area transit agencies, there will be a $30 add-on for the monthly pass to include all CTA and Pace as well. $130/month for unlimited rides on the entire region's transit (except for South Shore, naturally).

 
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Messages
1,387
Some added news for this, in what seems to be an unprecedented sense of cooperation between Chicago area transit agencies, there will be a $30 add-on for the monthly pass to include all CTA and Pace as well. $130/month for unlimited rides on the entire region's transit (except for South Shore, naturally).

Well pick me up off the floor with a scraper! Wonders never cease!
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,857
Location
Denver
Because every agency and city have focused way too much on downtown 9-5 commuters. Hartford is a good example of a city that is struggling a lot since most workers are still remote. Pre-pandemic it was already dead after 7pm and on weekends; not enough housing, restaurants, entertainment, and grocery access.

While not knowing much about commuter rail schedules across the rest of the continent, I will say that MTA is probably the best poised to transition to a regional rail-type service, i.e. more even headways throughout the day, off-peak expresses, and more weekend service, along with lower fares (crucial for casual riders). Most lines are electrified and they have the equipment; well at least MNRR does. Take some trains out of the peak ours and spread them out.
Having dealt with this question since the 1960's I agree with what you've written. And fhe outfits that I worked for preferred adding cars to the base service rather than adding peak trips. However, there are issues that need to be added to the discussion. Concentrated activity in city cores attracts transit service. Concentrated activity in city cores results in charging for parking, which along with gasoline is one of the few auto expenses that customers consider. Outlying sidewalks are poor to non-existent.

One plus in reducing peaks is improved working conditions for the operators. Another plus is reducing peak power needs (depending on how electricity is purchased).
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
737
Location
Lubec, ME
I haven't bought a monthly ticket in, well, years! I'm not sure I'll ever go back to ten rides a week - as it is I'm not even going through a ten ride a month (unless I do a couple extra days in the office). I see that Metra said (claimed?) that MED was back to pre-pandemic ridership, which seems suspicious to me - the ridership still seems light unless it's picked up mid-day and on weekends - or they their ridership figures were way off beforehand.

Sounds like a good deal, however, if you ride that much.
With many people in this situation of not riding every day, I wonder if a better plan would be what London does, is having a daily cap on your expenditure which would help those who have to use transit extensively. In London this even works if you tap in and out with a contactless credit card, the system keeps track and just bills your card at the end of the day.
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
418
With many people in this situation of not riding every day, I wonder if a better plan would be what London does, is having a daily cap on your expenditure which would help those who have to use transit extensively. In London this even works if you tap in and out with a contactless credit card, the system keeps track and just bills your card at the end of the day.
Everything in Chicago is an uphill climb when it comes to sensible transit policies. That these transit agencies - who are all a part of the Regional Transportation Authority - have even cooperated this much is a minor miracle. Even stupid small stuff that seems obvious they can't get right. The payment system they switched to under Rahm, Ventra, won't even do something as simple as display your remaining fare (or time left on a monthly/weekly/daily pass) when you tap the card, even though it is the same company that runs fare systems in other major cities that do have that feature. It is a major hassle for those of us that can't/won't connect to a credit card for auto refill
 
Last edited:

joelkfla

Conductor
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
1,938
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
With many people in this situation of not riding every day, I wonder if a better plan would be what London does, is having a daily cap on your expenditure which would help those who have to use transit extensively. In London this even works if you tap in and out with a contactless credit card, the system keeps track and just bills your card at the end of the day.
Also NYC MTA, with a weekly cap on subways & buses for OMNY users.
 
Top