2000 to Today
A Changing Landscape
Declining financial resources became a reality for Metro Transit in the 2000's. But it actually began in 1999, when the federal government stopped providing funding for transit operations to public transit agencies across the nation.
Metro Transit made a number of internal changes to address the funding deficit. Metro implemented cost-saving initiatives including an employee wage-freeze, organizational restructuring, and programs to reduce workers compensation claims and employee absenteeism. Also, Metro Transit began planning "Metro Redefined", a redesign of transit services that expands MetroBus service and frequency while requiring fewer buses and fewer operator hours.
While the Agency faced funding issues, Metro Transit was actually able to grow and expand service throughout the decade. In 2001, the Agency began operation of the St. Clair County MetroLink Extension, serving 8 new MetroLink Stations from 5th & Missouri in East St. Louis to Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, IL. MetroLink service would further grow in 2003, with the addition of service to the Shiloh-Scott MetroLink station in Illinois and in 2006, with the opening of the Cross County MetroLink Extension. The Cross County MetroLink Extension expanded MetroLink service into mid-St. Louis County from Forest Park, serving 9 new stations and 8 miles into the heart of the region. Metro Transit also began serving 7 new MetroBus Transfer Centers, expanded Metro Call-A-Ride service hours and opened parking facilities at the North Hanley and Brentwood I-64 MetroLink Stations.
However, Metro Transit's ability to do more with less funding came to an end and the Agency was forced to reduce service in March 2009. Fortunately, the State of Missouri was able to provide a one-time emergency appropriation to the Agency, allowing Metro Transit to temporarily restore some of the service that was reduced in March.
Following the temporary restoration of service, Metro Transit began a public engagement effort with the East-West Gateway Council of Governments to develop a regional transit plan. This became known as Moving Transit Forward
, a 30-year, long-range transit plan for the St. Louis region based on extensive public input, market research and consideration of existing and future transit technologies.
In April 2010, a new funding source for Metro Transit was provided through a tax initiative passed by St. Louis County. This funding allowed the Agency to begin implementation of the Moving Transit Forward long-range plan, by first restoring MetroBus, MetroLink and Metro Call-A-Ride service to levels before the reductions of March 2009.
As Metro Transit moves into the future, the Agency's goal remains the same: to move transit forward in the St. Louis region while operating with transparency, fiscal integrity and efficiency, and to involve the people of the region in that effort.