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Pace 2018 budget includes fare increases, expansion of Will County services

Brock A. Stein | 10/20/2017, 1:43 p.m.
Despite suffering from shrinking state revenues, Pace’s proposed $410 million budget for 2018 will include some upgrades for Will County ...
Pace Bus service has expanded and proven popular for commuters heading to work in downtown Chicago. Photo by Brock A. Stein

Despite suffering from shrinking state revenues, Pace’s proposed $410 million budget for 2018 will include some upgrades for Will County riders.

More busses will be outfitted with Wifi, electronic bus trackers will be installed at more stops to keep riders informed about arrival times, and those that jump on the bus in Plainfield will see a new, expanded park and ride lot near village hall in the near future. The new $4.8 million lot will include 423 new spaces, a shelter, and restrooms said Pace chairman Rick Wisnewski.

The Plainfield stop is the western terminus he said for the Bus on Shoulder program which started in 2011 and has grown exponentially in ridership since then with about 2300 riders per day this year, a 14% increase over last year. Plainfield could also be the site of a future satellite bus garage as well.

Wisnewski said that all told the agency plans to invest a total of $62 million in to capital projects which will also include some new busses. The agency will also begin reimburse ADA riders for trips that are more than 80 minutes behind schedule he said.

In addition, Pace is working with corporate partners like Amazon and CenterPoint in Joliet to find ways to shuttle workers who use public transportation to get to work at the large warehouse and logistics sites in Will County.

The agency will be rolling out fare increases of 25 cents for its single ride, cash and Ventra customers along with a 50 cent increase for premium route riderships. Pass holders will not see increases next year.

Like many state funded agencies, including Metra, Pace will have to do more with less next year said Wisnewski with the agency expected to lose $5 million from it state funding revenue and another $8.5 million in its ADA transportation budget.