CTA President Forrest Claypool on Wednesday called a proposed cost increase for single-ride rail tickets "a voluntary payment."
The CTA is proposing hiking the cost of single-ride train tickets from $2.25 to $3 when the agency rolls out its Ventra payment system this summer.
"No one has to pay a fee. It's only if they choose not to participate in the Ventra system," Claypool said at a press conference announcing an expanded CTA apprentice program. "It's just [for] someone who insists on getting an expensive [paper card] one time use. In that case, it's an added expense we have to carry."
Under the system, riders would be able to pay for their fares with their credit or debit cards, a Ventra card that would replace the Chicago Card, unlimited daily, weekly or monthly passes or the single-fare tickets.
Buses will still accept cash fares.
The $3 would cover the cost of the $2.25 rail trip, a 50-cent "limited use media fee" and a 25-cent transfer even if the rider doesn't need to use the transfer, the CTA said. About 4 percent of CTA's ridership use single-ride rail tickets, the CTA said.
The CTA is holding a public hearing at 6 p.m., Monday about the Ventra system at CTA Headquarters, 567 W. Lake St.
The Ventra proposal also calls for a $5 monthly charge for riders who don't use their Ventra cards after 18 months.
Chicago Cards will not be accepted starting next year, the CTA said.
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