On Wednesday night, over 100 people showed up at CTA headquarters to discuss the transit agency's proposed fare hikes. Many speakers protested the hikes as unfair in these harsh economic times. Said Brian Zeid of Rogers Park: "It's a hard situation -- a 20 percent increase. If we'd all see 20 percent increases at our jobs, we'd be in great shape." Several speakers objected to the elimination of the bonus for using the Chicago Card.
The Civic Federation's Lawrence Msall offered his support for the CTA's "fiscally responsible" 2009 spending plan. The federation, a non-partisan research group, noted that the CTA faces a $42.2 million deficit as a result of higher fuel costs, lower tax revenues and Gov. Rod Blagojevich's "ill-considered" senior free ride program. The federation supports the proposed 25 cent and 50 cent bus and rail fare increases as a "necessary and appropriate way" to offset rising costs. Msall also praised the CTA's decision not to cut service, and expressed concern about the ongoing lack of state capital funding.
The CTA board will vote on the plan Nov. 12