Rising ticket price could make travel harder for students

Students should make clear their opinions on a potential Metra ticket price increase from $7.25 to $8.25 before a final vote on the fare hike.

Comments on Metra’s budget will be solicited at a Nov. 5 public hearing for Geneva and Kane County at 4 p.m. at the Kane County Government Center, 719 S. Batavia Ave. in Geneva, and a copy of Metra’s budget will be posted on metrarail.com Friday. People can also email comments to 2015budgetcomments@metrarr.com if they cannot attend the hearing. Metra spokesperson Meg Reile said there could be alterations to the final budget based on feedback from the public, underscoring how important it is for those who have concerns over the fare hike to speak up.

Students should be the first ones emailing Metra and voicing their opinions: The train station is a popular travel choice for students, especially since NIU is a “suitcase school” where many leave for the weekends. A shuttle that takes people to and from NIU and the Elburn station is usually full every weekend, said Brett Williams, Student Association director of Mass Transit.

The cost is $6.25 for a shuttle ticket to the Elburn station, $14.50 for two one-way train tickets and $6.25 for a shuttle ride back to NIU. Students who use the shuttle and Metra to get to and from Chicago are spending up to $27 every time they go home for the weekend, and it will be $29 after the fare increase.

Even though the one-way ticket fare increase is only be $1, it adds up over time.

Students, faculty and members of the community should also give feedback to their state representatives, who have influence over Metra. Anyone who can attend the Metra public hearing should voice their opinions there.