First CTA fare hike in four years begins today


A Blue Line train towards O’Hare approaches the UIC-Halsted station. CTA has added more runs to the O’Hare branch, in its “plan to reduce crowding” (more commonly called “decrowding plan”), which are short-turned at UIC-Halsted station. Photo by Jeff Zoline. 

The 55% of Chicago Transit Authority passengers who use passes will see an increase in their per-trip fare when they buy new passes or reload a Chicago Card Plus today. This is the first fare increase since January 2009. (See the full schedule of fares on CTA’s website.)

My friend Ryan Lakes, an architect, bike polo player, and West Town Bikes volunteer in Humboldt Park, strongly recommended I watch “Taken For A Ride“, a documentary about the systematic dismantling of rail transit in tens of cities nationwide, and the conversion of those routes to diesel buses manufactured by General Motors. I strongly recommend it, too. It was released in 1996, but watching it today shows me how transit history repeats itself.

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A Groupon for CTA


One of the CTA’s nicer stations.

Soon you’ll be able to buy a 3-day pass on Chicago Transit Authority via Groupon. Groupon is purchasing 250,000 passes at $7.53 each and will resell them to Groupon buyers for $9, down from the $14 retail price. The pass allows unlimited rides on CTA buses and trains for 72 hours from the first use. From the press release:

Groupon has 36.9 million active customers and close to 900,000 daily page views, allowing CTA an opportunity to advertise to a national and international audience. Emails will appear in a member’s daily deal for Chicago and when visitors search for travel deals on the internet retailer.

The discounted rate will encourage more people to use CTA’s 3-Day pass, which offers a better value than the pay-as-you-go option. The CTA Groupon will also cultivate new riders and eventually capture permanent local customers, expanding the current ridership base.

In addition to gaining additional ridership, CTA will receive customer information that will help CTA reach out to customers to help encourage further use of the system.

Per the terms of the agreement, Groupon and CTA can agree to offer an additional 250,000 passes for the same price within the next 12 months. This agreement does not affect the availability or price of 3-Day passes at existing sales locations.

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