We will miss the 10-ride pass.
With a new fare system taking effect Feb. 1, Metra is doing away with that convenient and flexible ticketing option, which for years has worked great for riders who take the train relatively frequently but not often enough to justify the expense of a monthly pass. More-than-occasional riders now will have to choose between a monthly pass or a five-pack of day passes, priced the same as the old 10-ride.
Fares are increasing as well. The rail agency is confronting a fiscal cliff as COVID-19 relief funds dry up and ridership remains well below pre-pandemic levels.
Some of this pain for commuters is unavoidable. Metra is an indispensable service; it needs to be maintained. The pandemic buffeted transit agencies of all kinds. With days in the office about half what they were before COVID-19, the cost of preserving reliable transit in the face of reduced ridership necessarily will be higher.
Still, we wonder at Metra’s decision to eliminate the 10-ride, which if anything seems more attuned to today’s commuter patterns than it did pre-pandemic. After all, many of us who work downtown are coming into the office two days a week or maybe three. The 10-ride is perfect for that type of rider.
Chicago Tribune Opinion
Metra is doing away with paper tickets, which is part of the reason for scrapping the popular option. The five-pack of day passes will be available only electronically. Still, there seems no reason the 10-ride couldn’t be provided strictly in electronic form as well.
The agency also says that most customers use their 10-ride pass twice a day — going and returning — so essentially the five-day passes are equivalent.
Sure. But one size doesn’t fit all. Ten-rides are preferable because they’re more flexible. They can cover multiple riders on a train. They also work for one-way journeys. In short, they are customer-friendly. What a concept!
We’ll survive, as will all of you other Metra riders, we presume. But it’s too bad that a product so well tailored to today’s needs is falling by the wayside. The fare changes, Metra says, are intended in part to incentivize more ridership. This change doesn’t seem to further that goal.
Maybe reconsider next year, Metra?