Pace reduces bus fares in effort to bring riders back

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- There’s some good news for Pace bus riders, instead of hiking fare rates, the transit agency plans to lower them.

In its proposed 2023 budget, Pace plans to eliminate or lower transfer costs when riders use a Ventra card.

Those transfers currently cost riders 30 cents, or 20 cents for reduced fares. It also looks to drop premium transfers with Ventra cards from $2.80 to $2.50, or $1.45 reduced fare to $1.25.

The suburban bus system is also rolling out new one-day and three-day Pace/CTA passes for $5 and $15 respectively.

“The one-day pass option would be ideal for customers who plan on riding multiple times on a given day,” said Pace principal budget analyst Melanie Castle.

“And the three-day pass option is targeted for customers that have travel plans on the weekend, or need to travel over a smaller number of days during the work week.”

Pace already offers a seven-day pass, but the proposed budget would cut the price from $25 to $20, matching what CTA currently offers for seven-day passes.

The fare reduction is being offset by federal COVID-19 relief dollars, which is set to expire by 2025.

During Wednesday’s board meeting, Chairman Richard Kwasneski said he hopes it will encourage people to use public transit more often.

“I think the ultimate goal from all this, is really to build ridership back so that when the pandemic dollars run out, we're able to have ridership back nearing where we were before.”

“The COVID money is not going to be there forever,” echoed board member Thomas Marcucci. “And when it goes away, we're going to be in trouble so we need to get the ridership back up.”

The proposed 2023 budget has total operating expenses of $303 million.

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