Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
artthouwill

Fare Game

Recommended Posts

Last year I noticed that people were getting on a CTA bus at a rail stop (i.e 35th Red Line or 35th Green Line). They would insert their transit card and immediately get off the bus. It perplexed me for awhile until recently. Though I live within walking distance of the Green Line, I figured out I could save 50 cents on my card by taking the Pace bus a few blocks to the station before riding the L. There is already a quarter difference between bus and rail fare on the CTA, and an additional quarter difference between Pace and CTA bus. How much revenue could CTA lose this way? Usually I buy passes, but this week being a short week for me, I chose the transit card. As a consumer, you may be able to stretch an additional trip or two depending on how you use it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first one was basically exposed on the CTA Tattler, in that if you stick your fare card in a CTA bus farebox device, the deduction is $2.00, while if you first stick your card in a turnstile slot, the deduction is $2.25, but both rail and bus deduct only $.25 for the first transfer, even though if things would make sense, they would deduct $.50 for the first bus to train transfer. The people at 35th have figured that out. However, they have potentially lost the second transfer that would have been available if they started on rail, but they must have figured that they are not transferring twice after leaving the train.

I don't know about the Pace situation. It would not work with a Pace transfer, since CTA doesn't honor them.You seem to be implying that if someone inserts a CTA Transit Card on a Pace bus (say on Halsted south of 95th), it would only deduct $1.75, and then another $.25 at the L station. However, given all the incomprehensible fare sharing agreements between the two agencies, I doubt that it works that way. More than likely, $2.00 is knocked off the CTA card when you board the Pace bus, but at least it is good for 2 transfers on the CTA.

Does anyone have personal experience with the Pace example?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first one was basically exposed on the CTA Tattler, in that if you stick your fare card in a CTA bus farebox device, the deduction is $2.00, while if you first stick your card in a turnstile slot, the deduction is $2.25, but both rail and bus deduct only $.25 for the first transfer, even though if things would make sense, they would deduct $.50 for the first bus to train transfer. The people at 35th have figured that out. However, they have potentially lost the second transfer that would have been available if they started on rail, but they must have figured that they are not transferring twice after leaving the train.

I don't know about the Pace situation. It would not work with a Pace transfer, since CTA doesn't honor them.You seem to be implying that if someone inserts a CTA Transit Card on a Pace bus (say on Halsted south of 95th), it would only deduct $1.75, and then another $.25 at the L station. However, given all the incomprehensible fare sharing agreements between the two agencies, I doubt that it works that way. More than likely, $2.00 is knocked off the CTA card when you board the Pace bus, but at least it is good for 2 transfers on the CTA.

Does anyone have personal experience with the Pace example?

I actually did ride a Pace bus with a CTA transit card which deducts $1.75 to the Green Line and the turnstile at the station deducted another quarter, thus that trip only cost $2.00. How the agencies share the revenue is beyond me. I just know the transit cards only deduct $1.75 on the first ride if it is on a Pace bus, $2.00 on the first ride if it is a CTA bus, and $2.25 on the first ride if it is on the L. BTW I didn't mention that I do transfer once normally on my ride to work, so the extra ride actually became a benefit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually did ride a Pace bus with a CTA transit card which deducts $1.75 to the Green Line and the turnstile at the station deducted another quarter, thus that trip only cost $2.00. How the agencies share the revenue is beyond me. I just know the transit cards only deduct $1.75 on the first ride if it is on a Pace bus, $2.00 on the first ride if it is a CTA bus, and $2.25 on the first ride if it is on the L. BTW I didn't mention that I do transfer once normally on my ride to work, so the extra ride actually became a benefit.

Yes, what you state is true. But don't you then lose the money starting out on CTA for the return commute? Like you would pay $2.25 if you start back on the "L" to then ride PACE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, what you state is true. But don't you then lose the money starting out on CTA for the return commute? Like you would pay $2.25 if you start back on the "L" to then ride PACE.

True, but, since he mentions Green Line, I assume it is something like not taking the extended 90 over taking 307/318 if one is boarding south of Grand in which case the total trip is still 25 cents less than otherwise.

That might be the antidote for my complaint about CTA poaching in Pace territory compared to the old rule that, say, the Douglas Extension bus couldn't drop off inbound or pick up outbound in competition with West Towns.

You would also have to figure in the relative frequency, in that 90 is about every 12 to 20 minutes, so is 307, but you can add in 318 once every half hour south of North Ave. The question is whether someone is going to let the CTA go by and wait maybe another 10+ minutes for the next Pace.

Similarly 352 may be more frequent than 108, but only stops every 1/2 mile.

So, there are the tradeoffs for being cheap, although I have used a few in my day. The one big one was using a CTA transfer to get to Wilmette and trade it for an RTA transfer and basically use that to ride back via Wilbus and Nortran. I also remember one time using an Evanston CTA bus to bypass the fare check at South Blvd., and while I remember that I lost time, I don't remember if that actually saved 20 cents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, what you state is true. But don't you then lose the money starting out on CTA for the return commute? Like you would pay $2.25 if you start back on the "L" to then ride PACE.

No because my first ride on the commute home is on a CTA bus, then I transfer to the Green and walk home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No because my first ride on the commute home is on a CTA bus, then I transfer to the Green and walk home.

The first is relevant, in that you don't pay an L surcharge either way, but I suppose walking isn't because the second transfer would still be free if you waited for the CTA or Pace bus. Maybe, though, it is relevant in the sense that you don't walk to the L, and thus don't pay the L surcharge coming in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No because my first ride on the commute home is on a CTA bus, then I transfer to the Green and walk home.

Wouldn't you still lose a quarter. Pace first ride is $1.75, CTA bus is $2. As far as the Harlem corridor south of North ave. A rider could actually wait for a pace bus during the rush if they wanted to save the money and not be too disconvenieced. I know the #318 can run as frequent as 15 minutes in the peak direction as well as the #307. It's probably one of the better corridors for Pace service. Speaking of Wilmette, I wonder why they only have the railroad gates that close at the pedestrian crossings to protect the right of way. I would think something like that would work well for Cicero or Albany Park/Ravenswood to protect the citizens as well as people who try to steal service by walking on the right of way to the platform and just climb up on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wouldn't you still lose a quarter.

Not unless the ride home started in Pace territory. Basically, this would be relevant only if you were going from, say, Old Orchard to Elmwood Park, with L rides in between.

If art is starting his trip in Oak Park he can pay either $1.75 for a Pace bus or $2.00 for a CTA bus, and then transfer to the L for $.25, and get the next transfer to the CTA bus for free, instead of walking to the L and paying $2.25 and then paying $.25 to transfer to the CTA bus. However, if work is in Chicago, he has to pay at least $2.00 in any event, since darn few Pace buses go into the city other than to connect at the nearest Rapid Transit terminal, unless he is paying $4.00 for 755 or 855.

Basically, by using Pace instead of CTA on the first leg of the trip, he is reducing the round trip fare from $4.50 to $4.25. If he started both trips on the L and needed transfers, the round trip would have been $5.00.

Speaking of Wilmette, I wonder why they only have the railroad gates that close at the pedestrian crossings to protect the right of way. I would think something like that would work well for Cicero or Albany Park/Ravenswood to protect the citizens as well as people who try to steal service by walking on the right of way to the platform and just climb up on it.

That basically went in when Evanston was converted to third rail, and the explanation was that the trains are going slow there. That became an issue in the Lee v. CTA trial where someone who electrocuted himself while taking a leak on the r.o.w. at Kedzie on the Ravenswood, and the contention was brought up that other rapid transit systems don't have such unprotected crossings. Lee's survivors eventually won, but that didn't seem to get the CTA to retrofit the grade crossings on the Brown and Pink, and they certainly didn't put gates on the Yellow, the only explanation given when I asked about it is that the Yellow is running 55 m.p.h, not 15 like the Purple.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That basically went in when Evanston was converted to third rail, and the explanation was that the trains are going slow there. That became an issue in the Lee v. CTA trial where someone who electrocuted himself while taking a leak on the r.o.w. at Kedzie on the Ravenswood, and the contention was brought up that other rapid transit systems don't have such unprotected crossings. Lee's survivors eventually won, but that didn't seem to get the CTA to retrofit the grade crossings on the Brown and Pink, and they certainly didn't put gates on the Yellow, the only explanation given when I asked about it is that the Yellow is running 55 m.p.h, not 15 like the Purple.

There is an interesting read on this subject on Chicago-l.org reading about the former isabella station. He states the reason they installed the gates was at the insistence of the town of Wilmette, which is what I always thought myself. The explanation you were given makes sense too considering Isabella closed for good in 1973. Traffic would be slower with that station there. Ironically the gates were installed the same year which may debunk that theory. But Chicago-l does state that from Isabella north to Linden had used a third rail between 1913-1957. (Which would make someone wonder why it was not a problem then?) The way I understand it the trains went from trolley pole to third rail at this point like they used to at East Prairie Rd on the yellow line. Without pantographs, they must of had to stop the trains to do this. Although they do state the station was a flag stop in which the trains could pass through if there were no riders boarding or exiting the train. Chicago l also stated that Evanston forbad the transit agency from using third rail unless it was protected. That would most likely explain the trolley wire used until the 1970's. I guess Cicero and the city of Chicago poses no restrictions on the construction of a grade service, so that would be my answer as to why the cyclone gates are not installed there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is an interesting read on this subject on Chicago-l.org reading about the former isabella station. He states the reason they installed the gates was at the insistence of the town of Wilmette, which is what I always thought myself. The explanation you were given makes sense too considering Isabella closed for good in 1973. Traffic would be slower with that station there. Ironically the gates were installed the same year which may debunk that theory. But Chicago-l does state that from Isabella north to Linden had used a third rail between 1913-1957. (Which would make someone wonder why it was not a problem then?) The way I understand it the trains went from trolley pole to third rail at this point like they used to at East Prairie Rd on the yellow line. Without pantographs, they must of had to stop the trains to do this. Although they do state the station was a flag stop in which the trains could pass through if there were no riders boarding or exiting the train. Chicago l also stated that Evanston forbad the transit agency from using third rail unless it was protected. That would most likely explain the trolley wire used until the 1970's. I guess Cicero and the city of Chicago poses no restrictions on the construction of a grade service, so that would be my answer as to why the cyclone gates are not installed there.

You'll have to watch older Bob Newhart shows on MeTV to see if you can figure out anything about Isabella. Any riding I did was only up to Davis. On that leg, since they were stopped at South Blvd. to check the through passes, they undoubtedly also raised the trolley poles there. But, clearly, someone would have to raise trolley poles, because the cars (especially the 4000s) didn't have the on the fly pan trolleys.

Update: Chicago-L org. says that that area was overhead from 1957 to 1973.

If you want to talk local government interference, and an at grade railroad, there are recorded court cases that when CTA instituted the 21B bus, Cicero wanted CTA out of town completely, while Berwyn wanted the rapid transit, including crossing guards at all the grade crossings. Obviously that didn't and couldn't happen, but the ruling was that CTA had enough legislature authority to do what it wanted. Hence, I doubt that Evanston and Wilmette could have legally forced anything, either, and it probably just was that CTA didn't want to cause problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You'll have to watch older Bob Newhart shows on MeTV to see if you can figure out anything about Isabella. Any riding I did was only up to Davis. On that leg, since they were stopped at South Blvd. to check the through passes, they undoubtedly also raised the trolley poles there. But, clearly, someone would have to raise trolley poles, because the cars (especially the 4000s) didn't have the on the fly pan trolleys.

Update: Chicago-L org. says that that area was overhead from 1957 to 1973.

If you want to talk local government interference, and an at grade railroad, there are recorded court cases that when CTA instituted the 21B bus, Cicero wanted CTA out of town completely, while Berwyn wanted the rapid transit, including crossing guards at all the grade crossings. Obviously that didn't and couldn't happen, but the ruling was that CTA had enough legislature authority to do what it wanted. Hence, I doubt that Evanston and Wilmette could have legally forced anything, either, and it probably just was that CTA didn't want to cause problems.

I believe in Oak Park, (before 1964) when the present green line was at grade, they did have crossing guards at the major intersections. They would have an operators shack at the intersection and when a train would pass a man would come out with a handheld flag in front of the downed gates to help stop the traffic. I don't recall this happening on the Garfield branch. Perhaps it was extra precautions due to the high traffic nature of the Lake street stations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't recall this happening on the Garfield branch. Perhaps it was extra precautions due to the high traffic nature of the Lake street stations.

Track maps in CERA 115 indicate that Garfield was at grade starting at Laramie, so it would have gone through Austin and Oak Park. That hits me as being more industrial than residential. However, one must also consider that it was built to interurban standards, whatever they were on the CA&E.

chicago-l.org pictures of stations on the Westchester branch (supposedly also built as the start of a bypass similar to the Skokie Valley one for the North Shore) indicate that there certainly wasn't much out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that the initial fare from ORD is $5.00 to ride the Blue Line

   What if I board at ORD for my second ride? Will I only be charged for a transfer or will I be charged the premium fare plus or minus the  transfer rate?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, artthouwill said:

I know that the initial fare from ORD is $5.00 to ride the Blue Line

   What if I board at ORD for my second ride? Will I only be charged for a transfer or will I be charged the premium fare plus or minus the  transfer rate?

I don't know, but I assume that since it isn't possible to transfer at O'Hare, you'll be stuck for the $5.

The fare table defines 25 cents for "transfer," and $5.00 "'L' train fare from O'Hare/Deducted on entry at O'Hare station, only"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Busjack said:

I don't know, but I assume that since it isn't possible to transfer at O'Hare, you'll be stuck for the $5.

The fare table defines 25 cents for "transfer," and $5.00 "'L' train fare from O'Hare/Deducted on entry at O'Hare station, only"

If he means taking either a 250 or 330 to the remote lot and taking the free light right to the terminal where the O'Hare station is located, actually it is possible to transfer. The fare chart though seems to imply that the $5 only applies to when boarding at O'Hare is your first ride since the footnote about the premium fare is linked to both the $2.25 Ventra first ride L fare and the $5 O'Hare premium fare entries.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, artthouwill said:

I know that the initial fare from ORD is $5.00 to ride the Blue Line

   What if I board at ORD for my second ride? Will I only be charged for a transfer or will I be charged the premium fare plus or minus the  transfer rate?

For the reasons listed by @jajuan, you would only be charged $0.25.

The other scenario that would be applicable is taking the blue line to O'Hare, leaving the paid area, and coming back in. The transfer rules do not consider where you boarded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, jajuan said:

The fare chart though seems to imply that the $5 only applies to when boarding at O'Hare is your first ride since the footnote about the premium fare is linked to both the $2.25 Ventra first ride L fare and the $5 O'Hare premium fare entries.

I don't follow you here.The single asterisk only points out that the $2.25 fare (for now) applies at all L stations except O'Hare.

8 minutes ago, Pace831 said:

The other scenario that would be applicable is taking the blue line to O'Hare, leaving the paid area, and coming back in. The transfer rules do not consider where you boarded.

That's the question. They might not, except for at O'Hare. Has anyone actually done it?

In fact, when Ventra first started, there were reports that they would not let you back on the same part of the system until a certain amount of time passed (to avoid pass backs).

At least in @jajuan's hypothetical, if someone went to that effort, the account would show that the last ride was on Pace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Busjack said:

That's the question. They might not, except for at O'Hare. Has anyone actually done it?

In fact, when Ventra first started, there were reports that they would not let you back on the same part of the system until a certain amount of time passed (to avoid pass backs).

The issue of pass backs only applies if trying to use the same card at the same station (or bus). So if I got on at Rosemont, rode to O'Hare and got back on, it would count as a transfer.

While I haven't done exactly what is being questioned here, I did once "transfer" at O'Hare using a pass. I looked at my card history later and it was correctly labeled as a "transfer" with no surcharge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Pace831 said:

The issue of pass backs only applies if trying to use the same card at the same station (or bus). So if I got on at Rosemont, rode to O'Hare and got back on, it would count as a transfer.

Only mentioned as illustrative of that they know where the last ride was.

3 minutes ago, Pace831 said:

While I haven't done exactly what is being questioned here, I did once "transfer" at O'Hare using a pass. I looked at my card history later and it was correctly labeled as a "transfer" with no surcharge.

Distinction is that they don't ask for $5 in addition to the pass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Busjack said:

Distinction is that they don't ask for $5 in addition to the pass.

Correct, but the comparison I would make is to Pace premium routes (I-55). If you transfer to one of those routes, or board with a non-premium pass, it will cost $2.25. But the scenario is not the same at O'Hare, as my example shows, because I was not charged extra with a pass despite O'Hare being a "premium" entry point. The rationale is likely that the $5 fare is intended for people who just got off planes, so CTA is not really concerned about creating a surcharge for a small number of local commuters who transfer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Pace831 said:

The rationale is likely that the $5 fare is intended for people who just got off planes, so CTA is not really concerned about creating a surcharge for a small number of local commuters who transfer.

The first is correct (but mitigated only by that O'Hare employees need a special card and that the $5 fare is not charged to reduced fare riders), but the second is assumption. And the original question doesn't seem someone trying to transfer from Pace 250 or 330 but someone trying to evade the $5.00 fare and getting a 25 cent ride.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Busjack said:

The first is correct, but the second is assumption. And the original question doesn't seem someone trying to transfer from Pace 250 or 330 but someone trying to evade the $5.00 fare and getting a 25 cent ride.

I didn't sense that sort of implication from @artthouwill's original question, which was simply "What if I board at ORD for my second ride?". Only he can answer what his motive for asking was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Busjack said:

The first is correct (but mitigated only by that O'Hare employees need a special card and that the $5 fare is not charged to reduced fare riders), but the second is assumption. And the original question doesn't seem someone trying to transfer from Pace 250 or 330 but someone trying to evade the $5.00 fare and getting a 25 cent ride.

This is the crux of the matter.  I saw someone board a 330 bus, pay with a Ventra card at the Remote Lot and immediately got off the bus.  I've only seen this done at CTA rail stations.   So I wondered if this was possible at ORD.  It seems to be a lot to go through  to save $3, but who am i?

 But I also wondered about riding to the airport then riding back as well.  But it was What I saw initially that triggered the quesgkon.  @pace831 and @jajuan made valid points.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, artthouwill said:

This is the crux of the matter.  I saw someone board a 330 bus, pay with a Ventra card at the Remote Lot and immediately got off the bus.  I've only seen this done at CTA rail stations.   So I wondered if this was possible at ORD.  It seems to be a lot to go through  to save $3, but who am i?

What you saw supports what I have been saying that there is no "premium transfer" rate. Some people will save money any way they can. The majority are paying $5 though, and while most don't know the "trick", most of those that do wouldn't  bother.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×