Chicago Transit Authority plans to keep basic fares level

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Transit Authority’s 2017 budget says it won’t raise basic fares for the eighth year in a row.

The Chicago Tribune reports the more than $1.5 billion budget being released Monday retains the $2.25 base fare for rail service and $2 fare for bus services, the same structure in place since 2009. The CTA raised daily, monthly and weekly pass rates in 2013.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports ridership fell to just under 500 million in 2016, down 3.2 percent, and the budget anticipates ridership will fall about 1 percent.

CTA officials said they were able to balance the budget without raising fares or cutting service through operational cost savings. The agency is planning a five-year, $3.5 billion capital improvement plan, which includes modernization of the Red and Purple lines.