Due to declining use and efforts to cut costs, Metra is ending its Ticket-by-Internet program, which allows customers to buy monthly passes and its specialty 10-Ride tickets via Metra’s website. The last day to purchase a monthly pass (the July pass) via the website will be June 20 and the last day to purchase a 10-Ride Ticket will be June 30.
Internet sales of monthly passes and 10-Ride tickets started in September 2009. Customers can set up recurring orders to receive their tickets on a monthly schedule or make one-time purchases.
Online sales of monthlies peaked in 2014, when an average of 5,162 were sold per month, while sales of 10-rides peaked in 2011, when an average of 4,875 tickets were sold per month. Those numbers have been declining since then, especially after the introduction of the Ventra App for mobile tickets in late 2015. In 2017, Metra sold an average of 2,654 monthlies per month through the website (about 3 percent of the overall total) and an average of 1,201 10-rides per month through the website (less than 1 percent of the overall total).
Ending the program will allow Metra to save about $144,000 in annual website hosting and maintenance costs, as well as interface support costs. In addition, it will allow Metra to avoid $70,000 in required credit card security upgrades this year (and any required upgrades in future years), as well as at least $240,000 in costs that would be associated with converting the website sales channel to Metra’s new revenue accounting system.
“We understand this change will inconvenience some Metra customers,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “However, we are trying to find efficiencies wherever we can, and we still offer several other sales channels, including the convenient Ventra App.”
Metra customers who have recurring website ticket orders or who make occasional one-time website purchases can use the following alternatives:
- Use the Ventra App, available for free download from the App Store or Google Play, to buy and display mobile tickets on their smartphone;
- Buy tickets from a ticket agent or ticket vending machine – with the Ventra App selling a larger share of tickets, waiting times at ticket windows are reduced;
- Take advantage of their employer’s Transit Benefits program (if offered) to use pretax dollars to buy Metra tickets and have them delivered by mail each month.