Metra approves nearly 11 percent fare hike

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Metra's board passed its 2015 budget which includes a nearly 11 percent fare hike that will go into effect Feb. 1.

Metra plans to use the fare hikes to fund a $2.4 billion modernization plan which includes rebuilding train cars, buying new train cars and locomotives, and helping finance bonds.

Metra is the nation's second largest commuter rail agency but its train cars are 30 years old, older than the train cars in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

Metra Executive Director Don Orseno has said that if Metra doesn't upgrade its fleet, there will be even bigger problems down the road. He argued this is critical in maintaining safety and reliability.

60 percent of Metra riders buy monthly passes, and those passes range from $78.25 to $263.50. In 2015, those prices will increase to $92.75 to $292.25.

Metra riders should also know that this fare hike is part of a 10-year plan. Fares could go up each year until 2024.

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