Metra fare hike not proposed, but not ruled out

CHICAGO — Chicago's commuter train service has released a budget for 2013 that leaves the door open for fare increases.

While the nearly $714 million budget proposal doesn't include a fare hike, Metra mentions several scenarios in which it might consider raising ticket prices. One is a regional economy that dramatically worsens.

Commuters can voice their opinions on the agency's budget during a series of public hearings starting next month.

Many who rely heavily on Metra were already hit hard by fare increases early this year.

The 2013 budget does not foresee any reductions in service. If it's approved at the proposed amount, next year's budget would be a 3.9 percent increase from this year's budget.