Metra commuters brace for overhaul: Fare structure changes and ticket window closures loom

CHICAGO - In just three days, commuters may face significant changes as Metra, with its daily average of nearly 300,000 riders, grapples with a potential crisis tied to the expiration of federal COVID-19 funds in 2026.

Expected to take effect on February 1, the proposed alterations include a revamped fare structure, potential ticket price increases, and the closure of all ticket windows.

The current ten fare zones will be consolidated into four, mirroring the recent closure of ticket windows on the Burlington Northern Line three weeks ago. Commuters will be directed to utilize the Ventra app, while some stations will still feature ticket vending machines.

Beginning Wednesday, the sale of 10-ride passes will cease, making way for a 5-pack of day passes available exclusively on the Ventra app. The $100 Super-Saver monthly pass will be eliminated, replaced by zone-based pricing ranging from $75 to $135.

One-way tickets will range from $3.75 to $6.75 based on the specific zones of the rides' starting and ending points. Additionally, the last change introduces day passes priced twice as much as a one-way ticket, replacing the disappearing $6 and $10 weekday day passes.