Attention Metra riders: there will be some big changes starting this week with how you purchase and use your train tickets.
The changes are set to take effect on Feb. 1, with many ticket windows closing, new vending machines installed and the elimination of certain purchasing options.
The main change will be ticket windows closing on all of the railway agency’s lines. According to Metra, windows already closed on BNSF lines by Jan. 8, and all remaining ticket windows, including those at downtown Chicago stations, will shutter on Feb. 1.
Vending machines have been placed at the busiest stops impacted by the decision, with riders encouraged to use the Ventra app on their mobile devices.
While Ventra is the agency’s preferred method of purchasing tickets, one-way tickets and weekend day passes will still be available on trains, but could come with a surcharge if vending machines are available at boarding stations.
Another change will involve the elimination of 10-ride tickets and incremental fares. The 10-ride passes will instead be replaced by five packs of Day Passes, according to the agency, which will be priced at 9.5 times the rate of a single-ride fare between zones.
Incremental fares, which allowed riders to upgrade existing tickets between zones, will be eliminated beginning on Feb. 1.
Finally, the Regional Connect Pass, available to all monthly pass holders on the Metra system, will only be available via the Ventra app beginning on Feb. 1. Those passes will cost $30, and provide unlimited rides on CTA and Pace, according to Metra officials.
The changes coincide with a simplification of the fare system, with Metra reducing its zone coverage from 10 zones to just four. The agency says the new fare system will result in reduced prices on nearly all lines, with the exception of the Metra Electric Line, as a discounted fare program will end on Feb. 1.
Currently, a ride from Union Station to Aurora on the BNSF line costs $8.25, but beginning Feb. 1, that price will drop to $6.75 per ride.
A Day Pass 5-Pack would be available for $64.25, and a monthly pass would cost $135. Saturday, Sunday and holiday passes are $7, with weekend passes available for $10.
A full list of prices and how the zones will be assigned can be found here.