Kenneth Lowe Jan. 5, 2015, 10:45am

A group of senior citizens has filed a class action lawsuit that alleges they were overcharged for Metra tickets and passes in the wake of fare changes.

Joan Fox, Nick C. Farina and Howard N. Reisman sued the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and the Northeastern Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corp., both doing business as Metra, as well as the RTA's Consumer Rail Board.

The trio claims Metra charged each of them higher rates than those promised to senior citizen and or/disabled transit riders for tickets and passes they purchased.

Once an elderly and/or handicapped transit user provides required identification, the suit states RTA issues a reduced fare permit that entitles him or her to a discount amounting to a more than 50 percent price reduction.

The plaintiffs, however, assert they did not receive this discount, which is provided under federal law.

“The lower mandatorily reduced price that Defendants must require of them was not utilized and RTA instead agreed to the alternative of making that available to all elderly or handicapped persons, reducing fare for all such persons to a discount of a full 50% of the scheduled fare for people who applied for and received a reduced fare entitlement card,” the suit states.

The plaintiffs, each of whom is over the age of 65, claim reduced fares are only available at certain times or places.

“In actuality, RTA Commuter Rail System designed and implemented a falsely labeled-reduced-fare-rate structure that violated Plaintiffs’ and the Class’s statutory rights and the agreement with the Federal government by charging them fares that RTA Commuter Rail System falsely labeled as reduced fares, which were higher than the Reduced Fares required to comply with [federal law]...” the suit states.

The three plaintiffs are seeking to proceed with their claims as a class action. The proposed class would include any elderly persons or persons with disabilities, who are not Circuit Breaker riders and were issued a reduced fare permit for 10-ride or unlimited monthly rides and overpaid for them. The class would include people who had made such purchases since 2002.

Filed Dec. 30 in Cook County Circuit Court's chancery division, the lawsuit levels four counts against the defendants, accusing them of violating the Civil Rights Act and the federal law providing the discount at the heart of the suit. It also alleges breach of contract and seeks a refund of alleged overcharges, as well as an injunction mandating Metra complies with the 50 percent price point.

The plaintiffs are represented by Chicago attorneys Aaron Walner and Lawrence Walner of The Walner Law Firm LLC, J. Stephen Walker of the Law Offices of J. Stephen Walker PC and Alyssa E. Griffin.

The case number is 2014CH20815.

More News