Weather Updates

Metra to give away 14,000 ‘test rides’

Updated: February 26, 2013 7:50PM

Starting March 4, Metra will be giving away 14,000 free “test rides” to any destination in its system as part of an effort to convince potential passengers that “Metra makes life easy,” officials said Tuesday.

Interested participants can go to to sign up for drawings that will be held each Monday for 14 weeks. Each week, 500 tickets good for two free Metra rides will be given away.

Metra Chairman Brad O’Halloran said traffic into Chicago has become “unpredictable” and choked with “gridlock.” Metra trains offer a far less stressful alternative that also allows passengers to read or work during their trip, he said.

Metra CEO Alex Clifford said Metra has heard “anecdotally” that some potential passengers may be “anxious” about transit and the first Metra free-ticket campaign since 2009 is an attempt to woo them.

Metra ridership dropped 1.7 percent last year and officials hope a $394,000 ticket-giveaway, electronic billboard and radio ad campaign will spark a 2 percent boost in ridership.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.