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Old October 18th, 2004, 08:00 PM   #1
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Daley: Raising CTA fare to $2 a 'good idea'

Mayor Daley on Friday said it's a "good idea" to raise CTA fares by a quarter to $2 and scale back the drastic service cuts planned if state lawmakers don't come up with more transit cash this year.

The mayor denied CTA officials have been crying poor and blaming the Legislature just so riders would beg for a fare increase to save service.

"This is a real issue. It's not going to go away. It's not orchestrated," Daley said. "They have explained it truly, honestly and forthright earlier than they have ever been before."

Without additional funding, CTA boss Frank Kruesi's bad-news budget calls for reducing service by 20 percent and holding the line on the $1.75 base fare.

Before Kruesi made that decision, CTA financial experts determined combining a fare hike and service cuts would create a "downward spiral" of ridership leading to more severe cuts.

"We are not getting over a [financial] hump for a year. This is a structural problem and will continue to be a problem unless something is done to address it," CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said.

CTA board members on Thursday opened the door to the fare increase, asking staff to brief them on whether a fare increase and lesser service cuts could fill the projected $77 million budget gap in 2005.

In coming weeks, CTA staff will detail their previous fare hike study and the board will consider it as part of their deliberations," Gaffney said.

CTA board chairman Carole Brown has said the board will consider modifying Kruesi's budget proposals as they have in the past.
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Old October 19th, 2004, 06:20 AM   #2
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Leaving fares unchanged and reducing service by 20% would still create a slippery-slope effect in my opinion. It doesn't seem to me that adjusting the fares is going to make much of a difference to that effect. Less service means people will be come more frustrated with public-transit and use it less often, as this happens more service cuts will be imminent, and eventually, the cycle will continue until there's nothing left.

The only solution is for the General Assembly to correct their mistakes and give the CTA what they want. If you give 90% of the rides, you're entitled to 90% of the region's public-transit dollars - it just doesn't seem like that difficult of a concept to understand.
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