Citizen Taking Action

for transit dependent riders

For Immediate Release 10/15/08                     For Information:  Charles Paidock, Secretary                                       (312) 353-0830


National Average:

            Basic Fare: $1.53               $17.80 Weekly Pass                   $58.34 Monthly Pass


Study Shows CTA Fares Already Rank 

Among the Highest of Major US Cities


            Members of Citizens Taking Action (CTA), a public transit advocacy group, conducted an informal study of transit fares of major cities in the United States, which revealed that the fares in Chicago already rank among the highest in the nation.  The group acknowledges than an exact comparison of services and fares is not possible, given the fact that no two transit systems are the same, however, any increase in the basic fares, or cost of weekly or monthly passes, would equal or exceed that of any other city.  The results have been posted at the group’s website at  The basic fare in Chicago is $1.75 on a bus, or $2.00 for the El train, $20.00 for a 7 day weekly pass, and $75.00 for a 30 day monthly pass.  The nationwide average is considerably lower at $1.53 for basic fare, $17.80 for a weekly pass, and $58.34 for a monthly pass.  CTA seeks an increase to $2 and $2.25, $24 for a weekly and $90 for a monthly passes.

            Charles Paidock, Secretary of the organization, stated:  “Last year the CTA went to the State Legislature looking for funding, and we lobbied for days and days on their behalf.  Now they are looking to us, the passengers and the fare box for funding.  We’ve heard the same old argument before that there hasn’t been an increase for a year or two, therefore it’s time to do it again.  As if it’s automatic and acceptable.  Other cities are looking to lower or eliminate fares altogether to reduce congestion or pollution, and increase ridership, but Chicago’s going in the opposite direction.  It’s tough to advocate the use of public transit when the deciding officials work against you.”  

            Other members of the group are concerned about ending the free fare provision for senior citizens.  Lois Rhea, a recently retired member of Citizens Taking Action, said:  “I’ve been contributing to public transit all of my working life, but I guess that wasn’t enough for them.”  The provision has increased the use of transit at off peak times, for a system which some maintain has already been paid for by the rush hour riders.  Kevin Peterson added that: “Some riders are misled into believing that an increase in fare will result in improved services, although this is not the case.  This is simply money to maintain operations as is.”

            Citizens Taking Action testified before the State Legislature to have free fares not only for senior citizens, but for all riders as well.  It estimates that a per capita tax of perhaps 75 cents a day would elimante the need for fares altogether, and maintains that elected officials refuse to recognize that the “limits of automobility” in the metropolitan area have been already been reached.

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