Did You Know?

Half of school children walked or biked to school in 1969, but only 13 percent were doing it in 2009.

Metra riders, are you feeling the crunch yet?

Last month Riders for Better Transit worked hard to spread the word about changes to the federal transit fare benefit that could cost transit riders even more to make their daily commutes.

src= members sent nearly 1,000 messages to the U.S. Congressional Delegation, explaining to them just how important it is for transit riders to be able to put aside $240 a month to pay for their transit fares, and that we should receive at least the same benefit as those who drive to work.

And what was the result?

In order to preserve the transit fare benefit at its current rate of $230–equal to that of the parking benefit for commuters–our federal representatives needed to vote for a bill that would guarantee permanent parity between the two.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t get it done. (Check out the bill and its sponsors here.)

As of January 1, the transit portion of the fare benefit dropped down to $125 a month, while the benefit for commuters who drive and park was increased to $240.

Congress’ inaction will hurt Metra riders since next month Metra fares are about to go up 25 percent. With February’s price increase, a monthly pass just to Metra's Zone C will now be $121. Monthly passes for Zones D through M will therefore exceed the amount of money that riders can put aside pre-tax to help pay for their commute.

Why did this happen?

Despite our efforts, the change that was necessary to save the transit fare benefit was lost in the noise of other discussions.

We know that millions of transit riders benefit from this program and will be negatively affected by this change, but our voice needs to be louder so our elected officials make this a priority.

Thank you to all of you who lent us your support. We’re not giving up! There’s still a chance we can make this change later this year. Riders for Better Transit will continue to be a voice for transit riders on this issue.

Join the movement to help us make an impact!