Editorial: Cheaper Metra on the South Side Would Ease Chicago's Transit Inequities

The Red Line extension to 130th is still unfunded and a universal Chicago fare card hasn’t materialized, but in the immediate term, the Metra can run more trains and charge lower fares to help get the South Side moving.

2 minute read

August 12, 2019, 12:00 PM PDT

By Casey Brazeal @northandclark

Metra Commuter Rail

Jay Crihfield / Shutterstock

South Side Chicagoans lack the transportation resources enjoyed by their neighbors farther north. There are fewer bike lanes, many of the roads are in worse shape and they don’t have as robust a public transit service as North Siders enjoy. An editorial by the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board argues that the fastest way to address the issue is to improve service on the Metra Electric Line. The editorial contends that, while they would like to see the city get on a one-payment card system for all the areas and transit services and the Red Line extended, the expansion of Metra service on the Electric Line could happen faster.

"Metra has already agreed to build a new Electric Line station at 95th Street, as well as a parking facility on the campus of nearby Chicago State University," the editorial points out. The newspaper argues the service should go beyond these efforts by increasing the number trains they run and matching the CTA’s lower fares.

Importantly, the Metra Electric Line could more easily increase the number of trains it runs than other Metra lines because, unlike other lines, Metra owns those tracks and doesn’t share them with freight rail. The Tribune argues that lower fares and better service will increase ridership on the Electric Line, pointing to a study Cook County conducted on the matter, additional fare revenue could help cover some of the additional costs of this service, but more importantly, in the view of the piece’s authors, it would get more people where they need to go.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 in Chicago Tribune

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