"Now you, as a commuter, will pick. You can either drive to work or you can take public transportation... Public transportation is different from driving to work. You will make that choice."—Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, on the Chicago Transit Authority's proposed 16% increase "to the cost of a 30-day pass and higher jumps for one-day, three-day, and seven-day passes."
Because apparently the Mayor is under the impression that everyone in Chicago owns a car.
Fun Fact! Not everyone in Chicago owns a car.
Fun Fact! Many of the people who don't own cars cannot afford to own a car.
Fun Fact! For residents of Chicago who cannot afford to own a car, public transportation is the most cost-effective way to get around the city, and CTA passes are the most cost-effective way of using public transportation.
Basic Math! If you are poor, it is better to purchase a pass of some description than individual fares.
Fun Fact! Individual fares are not being hiked.
So, here's the deal: If you are the sort of person who has the disposable income to buy a car in a city where car ownership is not generally a requirement of daily life the way it is in much of suburban and exurban America, you are also the sort of person who can afford taxis, and Zipcars, and individual CTA fares. Thus, this increase in the cost of public transportation will not affect you at all.
If, however, you are the sort of person who does not have the disposable income to buy a car—which, by the way, probably means you're living in a part of the city to which CTA service has been cut or was never very good in the first place, making a car more useful to you than someone living in, say, Lincoln Park—you are also the sort of person who can't easily afford taxis, or Zipcars, and who maybe has to watch every dollar, every quarter, every penny, so you opt for CTA passes, which make every ride cheaper than if you paid individual fares.
And if you're really poor, then you might only be able to scrape together the money for a weekly pass, which is increasing by 22%, or a three-day pass, which is increasing by 43%, or a one-day pass, which is increasing to $10 from $5.75—an increase of 74%.
Thus, if you are one of the people who most needs affordable access to public transportation, you will be shouldering the biggest burden of keeping base rates low for people who don't need the discount that passes convey, for people who can afford a monthly pass without breaking a sweat.
And if you don't like that, well, according to Mayor Emanuel, you can just drive your car to work.
Because apparently the Mayor is under the impression that everyone in Chicago has a job, too.