On June 28, 2009, thousands of people across the St. Louis region were struggling with the loss of transit services and jobs because finances had led Metro to eliminate some bus routes, cut back service on other routes and reduce the frequency of MetroLink trains.
On June 28, 2010 – just one year later – Metro began restoring those services permanently by launching the first phase of service restoration with added rush-hour frequency to MetroLink trains, increased frequency on some MetroBus routes and redesigned routes on others in St. Louis County and St. Louis City. Restoring and in many cases improving service to thousands of people is possible because voters in St. Louis County approved a half-cent sales tax in Proposition A just 12 weeks ago.
“What a difference a year makes!” said Metro Chief Operating Officer, Ray Friem. “This is the beginning of great improvements for transit customers, for Metro and for the entire St. Louis region. Our public transit system is back on track. Metro is initiating an exciting plan to first, rebuild the region’s public transit system, and then to expand and improve the system with more service and new modes of public transit. It means saving jobs right now, including at least 600 we would have lost here at Metro, and working to bring even more economic development and high-quality jobs to the region in the future.”
The new long-term revenue approved by voters in April of this year enabled the Agency to cancel plans to further cut transit service, and to permanently restore routes that were only temporarily restored last year.
Service restoration this year reflects a more updated, more focused and more responsive approach to designing routes and schedules. The two restoration phases, with the second scheduled for August 30, are timed to provide the best and most useful service to residents and visitors to the St. Louis region at exactly the times they need it the most.
• Phase 1 on June 28 focused on increasing rush-hour MetroLink train frequency by 25 percent and restoring, expanding or restructuring 20 bus routes – all just in time for public transit’s busiest season over the summer. Local customers and out-of-town tourists have special needs for public transit to get to Cardinals games, Fair St. Louis over the 4th of July weekend, the free Celebrate St. Louis Summer Concerts on the riverfront and other summer events.
Those seasonal needs also are served by the return of the Forest Park Shuttle and changes in the Downtown Trolley to serve more locations, including City Museum. The Downtown Trolley buses also are wrapped to look like trolleys, adding a fun element to a route that serves the needs of tourists and local customers alike. The cost of wrapping the trolleys is being paid by the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis.
The increased rush-hour frequency on MetroLink means trains every 12 minutes on the Red Line and Blue Line and every 6 minutes between the Forest Park-DeBaliviere and Fairview Heights MetroLink Stations.
• Phase 2 begins August 30 with more attention to restoring, restructuring and redesigning MetroBus routes across the region in time for Labor Day and the traditional return to work for vacationers and the return to school for students. More details on those changes will be announced in mid-August.
“We are taking a lot of information we gathered while service was reduced and applying it now to expand and restructure many of our bus routes across St. Louis County and St. Louis City,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, Metro Chief of Planning and System Development. “We are not only increasing frequency on our busiest routes, but we are also redesigning some routes, like the Lindbergh line, to address the specific needs of each section of the route. Besides redesigning Lindbergh, we will be adding one bus each hour to accommodate the heavy demand on Grand. And we will increase service by 50 percent by adding another bus each hour on the Earth City route during peak hours.”
Mefford-Miler also said Metro is planning routes and schedules to accommodate construction projects scheduled to begin in 2010 and 2011, such as replacement of the Grand Avenue Bridge over Scott Avenue and the rehabilitation of the Eads Bridge.
For detailed information on MetroBus schedules and maps, please go to the Metro website at http://www.metrostlouis.org/ServiceChanges/.
Schedules for MetroLink are available online at the MetroLink Schedules page at http://www.metrostlouis.org/ServiceChanges/ or call Metro Transit Information at (314) 231-2345 from Missouri or (618) 271-2345 from Illinois.