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Reduced Fares for Metra Riders With SNAP Benefits

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Reduced Fares for Metra Riders With SNAP Benefits

Reduced Fares for Metra Riders With SNAP Benefits. Metra, Chicago extensive commuter rail system, is set to launch a groundbreaking low-income fare pilot on February 1, providing reduced fares to riders enrolled in the Illinois Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This initiative aims to alleviate the financial burden on economically disadvantaged individuals, offering them a more affordable means of transportation across the entire Chicago area.

The Metra Access Pass | Gateway to Reduced Fares

Similar to the existing RTA reduced-fare permits for seniors and riders with disabilities, the new program introduces the Metra Access Pass. This pass allows SNAP beneficiaries to access reduced fares, providing a significant cost reduction compared to regular ticket prices. Applicants must apply for the Metra Access Pass to unlock this benefit, ensuring a streamlined process for eligible riders.

Program Duration and Commencement

The low-income fare pilot is scheduled to commence on February 1, coinciding with other fare adjustments. Unlike its predecessor, the Fair Transit South Cook program, which focused on specific lines, this Metra-only initiative is slated to run until at least July 31, 2025. The extended duration underscores Metra’s commitment to sustaining reduced fares for low-income riders in the long term.

Addressing Fare Changes and the Impact on South Cook Lines

As Metra undergoes a major fare overhaul, discontinuing the Fair Transit South Cook program, there are concerns about potential fare increases for certain lines. Notably, the Metra low-income fare pilot ensures that reduced fares extend beyond the discontinued Fair Transit lines, benefiting low-income riders throughout the six-county region.

New Fare Structure

With the implementation of the new fare system effective February 1, riders within Growing Community Media’s coverage area will predominantly fall into Fare Zone 2. The Metra Access Pass holders will experience a significant reduction in one-way ticket prices and monthly pass costs, making public transportation a more accessible option for SNAP beneficiaries.

Metra Access Pass Features and Benefits

Metra Access Passes, akin to the familiar reduced-fare permits, will be easily recognizable with distinct color-coding. Besides individual benefits, Access Pass holders gain the unique advantage of household discounts, offering a more inclusive approach to supporting low-income families in their commuting needs.

Financial Support from Cook County

To offset revenue loss, Cook County has committed to reimbursing Metra for up to 74% of the funds lost due to Access Pass holders traveling within the county. However, this reimbursement does not extend to the collar counties, emphasizing the importance of financial cooperation in sustaining this essential initiative.

Evaluation and Future Prospects

Metra plans a thorough analysis of the pilot program within the initial six months of operation, with the possibility of additional assessments in the future. The agency holds the flexibility to terminate the agreement with a 90-day notice, ensuring adaptability in response to changing circumstances. The unanimous approval of the agreement by the Metra Board of Directors underscores the collective commitment to fostering equitable transportation solutions for all riders.

Conclusion

Metra low-income fare pilot signifies a crucial step towards fostering inclusivity and affordability in public transportation. By extending reduced fares to SNAP beneficiaries, Metra not only addresses immediate financial challenges but also establishes a foundation for a more accessible and equitable transportation system for years to come.

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