CTA made ‘right choices’ by raising cost of passes, O’Hare trip, Emanuel says
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org November 26, 2012 1:16PM
The CTA today revealed they plan to add an additional $2.75 surcharge on one-time trips on the Blue Line from O’Hare into the city, meaning a trip in from O’Hare will cost $5.00. Photographed on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times
Updated: December 28, 2012 6:18AM
The CTA made “tough choices” that were “the right choices” by raising the price of passes used on 55 percent of all rides and more than doubling the price of single rides from O’Hare Airport but freezing basic fares through 2015, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday.
“The basic fare stays the same. It will stay the same this year, next year, the following year and the year after that — which cannot be said about gas prices at the pump. And that’s the comparison a commuter makes. I know, since I actually take the train” on occasion, the mayor said.
Five days after his handpicked CTA leadership team lowered the boom, Emanuel defended it and claimed responsibility for the only rose among the thorns: a 10-cent reduction in one-way fares for students — from 85 cents to 75 cents.
“I made it a personal mission . . . when the contract came up to make sure that the kids of Chicago [got a break]. While it wasn’t major, it nonetheless helps them and their family meet their family budget. I made that a priority. . . . It was done at my request,” Emanuel said.
“We asked the people coming in [to O’Hare] for business to pay more while the students of Chicago are actually paying less. . . . Students who actually take the CTA to school — about a third of our kids — went from 85 cents down to 75 cents. So one group of commuters actually saw a reduction in the rate: the children of Chicago.”
Emanuel stressed again and again that the $2.25 basic fare for riders without passes would remain the same through 2015, when he is expected to stand for re-election.
“Terry [Peterson, CTA board chairman] and Forrest [Claypool, CTA president] made some tough choices — the right choices for the city of Chicago because they didn’t do what used to be done in the past” by robbing from capital funds to pay for operating costs, he said.
“This is a contract that doesn’t lurch from one crisis to another, doesn’t have everybody running down to Springfield. . . . It’s a contract that doesn’t take money out of our investments into new cars, new rail, better system and use it to pay for an old contract. That contract needed to be modernized. Forrest and Terry did a good job. But again I remind you: The standard fare stays the same and energy prices at the pump do not.”
Last week, the CTA nailed down a long-awaited contract with bus drivers and motormen that calls for $60 million worth of cost-cutting concessions — one-third of the amount Claypool originally anticipated.
To fill the gap, the CTA announced plans to raise the price of one-day, three-day, seven-day and 30 day passes — by anywhere from 16 percent to 74 percent.