For first time ever Metra allows online ticket payments

An option that’s never been on the table in the 25-year-old history of Metra has now been presented to the commuter rail service’s 312,000 daily riders – online payments for tickets.

Metra revamped its Web site,, allowing commuters with credit cards to purchase monthly passes and 10-ride tickets. The move was well-received, said Michael Gillis, spokesman for Metra.

The only payment method for tickets that was available was cash or check.

Since its rollout Sept. 12 there have been 1,877 ticket orders placed, and 5,742 customers have signed up for "My Metra" accounts. There was a technical snafu during the first few days because of increased online traffic.

More than 7.5 million hits were recorded by the Web site, Gillis said.

Before the site upgrade, commuters could use the trip planner, access the schedules for all 11 Metra lines and determine their fare.

Now, "My Metra" account holders can get customized information on their train routes and receive automated service alerts via e-mail. Before the end of the year, commuters with web-enabled cell phones will be able to receive the service alerts via text messages. While the Web site is new equipped for credit card payments, Metra stations aren’t.

The agency plans to start accepting credit cards at its staffed stations and at the busiest Metra Electric stations in February, Gillis said.


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