Protesters speak out against proposed CTA fare hikes

CHICAGO -- Protesters angry that the CTA is considering raising fares for the first time in years spoke up during Tuesday's board meeting.

The CTA said $33 million in state budget cuts have left the agency with no choice. The price hike would be the first fare increase in eight years.

Protesters on Tuesday called the fare hikes an attack on the poor. But as much as protesters had their say at the meeting, their words may fall on deaf ears.

The CTA said the price hikes are necessary to balance the books and keep it from having to cut services. It’s also blaming state budget cuts for the price increase.

The RTA, which oversees Chicagoland transit agencies, has actually urged the CTA to increase their prices to avoid having to make any cuts.

Likewise, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said any cuts in service would be completely unacceptable.

But this does follow increases at both Metra and Pace, which has consumer groups up in arms.

Fares for buses and trains would go up 25 cents each. The cost of a monthly transit pass would go up by $5. The price for a ride on the Blue Line to get home from O’Hare Airport will remain at $5.

The vote will be held Wednesday by the full CTA board. If approved, the changes would go into effect January 7.