Metra Monthly Commuter Newsletter                                              March 2017
We want your help with our fare survey
     Metra has launched an online survey to ask what its customers, former customers and prospective customers think about a variety of potential fare and ticket options, including off-peak and reverse-commute pricing, one-day and seven-day passes, loyalty programs and other ideas.
     The survey is part of a study that Metra commissioned in July 2016 to evaluate the agency’s distance-based fare structure and fare products and recommend changes that best serve the region’s needs. The scope of work for Metra’s consultant, Four Nines Technologies, includes determining opportunities and costs of potential fare structure changes and developing a model that can help Metra evaluate those potential changes.
     For more details, click here.
Train simulators help train engineers
Read about how Metra uses machines that provide realistic simulations of Metra lines to train engineers before they operate an actual locomotive.
First car rehab program ends, next one begins
Workers at Metra’s 49th Street Car Shop pose last month with the 176th and final Amerail car that they renovated at the facility. But their work’s not done – they immediately moved on to the next project, renovating 302 cars that were built by a different manufacturer, Nippon Sharyo. It’s all part of Metra’s ongoing effort to modernize its rolling stock. We expect to renovate about 43 cars and 18 engines this year.
Last month’s Bi-Level was informative but a tad boring. So, I’m writing to comment on two things and hopefully throw a little humor into the read too. To the volume issue first, for those who insist on listening to their music, news, etc. (but it’s usually the music) at a volume that I can hear when I am sitting half a car away from you – are you deaf? If not you surely will be soon. The second issue is directed to all the people who are so self-centered that they think the Metra personnel have nothing better to do than clean seats that you have left your dirt, grime and/or mud from your shoes on or that other people who come on the train after you should have to clean up just so they can have a seat. By all means, stretch out, make yourself comfortable – but at least have the courtesy to either take your footwear off (unless you have stinky feet because that would surely tick off other riders in your immediate vicinity) or here’s a novel idea – put something on the seat so you don’t get it dirty (maybe even use an old Bi-Level issue – sorry guys, just had to throw that in there). Just sayin...

     Seriously? You call us boring, suggest we should be used as a seat liner, and then expect us to use your letter? Heck yeah, we’ll use it! Because it provides us with a clumsy segue to the results of our “Rice Nice” survey. We asked you to vote for pet peeves that were not covered in the first round of posters. The winners? Rowdy groups, saving seats, eating something stinky, prematurely clogging the aisles and hands-free sneezing and coughing. Look for the new posters by this summer. FYI, noisy neighbors and feet on seats were covered in the first round, and we’re not wild about people putting their feet up, period.

     There is no assigned seating on ANY Metra cars. Purses, backpacks and your frown when I arrive to take an open/available seat are okay –  but please remember, there is no assigned seating on Metra trains. I have not paid my fare to stand – please remember, there is no assigned seating on Metra trains.
If you’re holding a seat for a friend, give him/her yours when they arrive. That’s the friendly thing to do – please remember,  there is no assigned seating. Please remember, it’s a Metra train not United or American.
Seat 4A Window Seat

     We think we get it: no assigned seating on Metra trains. As you can see from our answer above, we’ll be repeating your admonition when our next set of posters comes out.


     I travel on the NCS 5:01 p.m. train and this is a fully packed train almost always. I find many customers are keeping their belongings on the nearby seats, thus making it difficult to find a seat to sit. I especially feel this habit of keeping one’s belongings in a seat nearby is really a contagious one. Probably Metra might need to help remind all commuters (either through the “Sound Off” column or through announcements) to remove their belongings from the seats so that this contagious habit can be kept in check!

Well this is a bit depressing, because we’ve been addressing “seat-hogs” for decades in this column, and it was also addressed in the first “Ride Nice” posters, and is anyone paying attention out there?
CEO retiring
at end of 2017
Metra’s Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno announced he plans to retire from the agency in December 2017 after 43 years of service. Orseno, 62, has served as Metra's leader since August 2013. The Metra Board will conduct a search to identify the agency’s next leader...
Full story
Ticket sales end at two stations
Due to declining on-site ticket sales, Union Pacific Railroad will no longer staff the Oak Park and Kenilworth stations with ticket agents as of the close of business March 30. Passengers who use those stations will still have access to station facilities and will be able to buy a ticket onboard from a conductor at no extra cost...
Full story
Metra to hold
51 safety blitzes
Metra will conduct Operation Lifesaver Safety Blitzes at 51 stations in 2017 as part of its ongoing efforts to raise awareness about safe behavior around trains and tracks. During a blitz, Metra employees pass out educational materials, answer questions and listen to customers’ safety concerns...
Full story
Read More in the Metra Newsroom

March 11

Metra to add capacity for downtown St. Pat's parade
Metra will be modifiying service for the Downtown Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade. Additional capacity will be provided on eight lines to accommodate increased passenger loads. Click here for details.

March 12

Metra to add stops for South Side Irish Parade
Some trains on the Rock Island Line will make extra stops for the annual South Side Irish Parade. Alcohol is banned on Rock Island trains and there may not be room for bikes. Click here for details.

March 15 

Metra Board of Directors to meet
The March meeting of the Metra Board of Directors will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the 13th floor board room of Metra headquarters, 547 W. Jackson. Go here to see the agenda two days before the meeting and a webcast the day of the meeting.

March 22 

Metra to hold training session
Metra will hold a labor contractor compliance training session from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the second floor training room of its headquarters at 547 W. Jackson. To register, contact Romayne Newton at
We love to hear from our riders!
Send letters, questions or feedback
Snail Mail: On the Bi-Level, Metra, 547 W. Jackson, Chicago, IL 60661-5717

We can not guarantee all letters will be printed or answered. Please keep letters to less than 200 words and include your first name, hometown and what line you ride. (Names are not required but strongly encouraged.) We reserve the right to edit letters for length and grammar.
On the Bi-Level is published by Metra's Media Relations Department.

You are receiving this email because: 1.) You're an awesome customer of Metra or 2.) You subscribed via
our website. Want to be removed? No problem, click here.

© 2015 Commuter Rail Division of the Regional Transportation Authority