The CTA proposed raising cash fares, but not fares used on the Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus, by 25 cents to induce more people to buy the cards.
One major problem: you can't buy the cards at the El stations. Why not? We've got people working there. Why can't they sell the cards? It's not like they're really doing anything else.
You can buy the card here.
We should sell Chicago Cards at public libraries and through the city clerk's office. It should not be this difficult to buy a Chicago Card.
But generally speaking, we should tax gasoline and parking more than we do and put that money into transit, because otherwise, we don't have an accurate pricing system. Without taxing parking and gasoline, driving is cheaper than the cost to society, and with rising fares to taking transit, that is more expensive than it's cost to society. These are externalities -- there is a cost to increased congestion and increased air pollution and increase dependence on Saudi oil that we all pay when people drive. And there is a benefit in less congestion and less pollution and less dependence on Saudi oil when people take the bus or the El (especially the El, since that runs on nuclear power, not oil).
The current pricing system is inaccurate, as it does not include those costs in the price to users.
So we should be taxing parking spaces more (perhaps through a higher property tax) and taxing gasoline more and taxing automobile registration, and put that revenue into public transit to get an accurate pricing system for transportation.
That was a great aspect of Illinois FIRST -- we taxed the right thing (license plate registration fees) and used it, in part, for the right things (mass transit). George Ryan may have run a dirty operation (see this post in John Fritchey's blog for a vivid example), but he was a hell of a governor. Death penalty moratorium, visit to Cuba, Illinois FIRST -- that's a trifecta.