Metro will implement the new Metro Reimagined service plan on Monday, September 30. We’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions to help you understand the new changes to the system.
Q: Why do we need to change the system?
A: The mobility needs of our riders have changed a lot over the years, and the Metro Transit system needs to change so we can better meet those needs. Just like a majority of transit agencies throughout the country, Metro has experienced a decline in ridership over the past five years. It’s clear that our transit system, as it is today, could work better for the St. Louis region.
Q: How did you decide on what changes to make?
A: More than two years ago, after recognizing that improvements needed to be made to the transit system to meet the needs of our riders, we launched Metro Reimagined — an in-depth analysis and study of the Metro Transit system. The focus was on our customers, and the study not only looked at where people travel in the region, but why they travel and how do they want to get there.
Using this research, along with feedback from our riders and operators, we developed a draft plan that provided increased frequency, more direct routes, improved weekend service and other benefits. We continued customer outreach after the draft plan was shared in Spring and Fall 2018. Our goal was to listen to our customers throughout each stage of the planning process, and we have made adjustments to the new service plan based on the feedback we received, including retaining service in areas where possible.
Q: What are the highlights of the new plan?
A: The new MetroBus service plan provides the features that our research and customer engagement identified as high priorities that bus riders want from their transit service: increased frequency; faster and more direct trips; improved weekend service; and more convenient options.
This includes 10 new, high-frequency MetroBus routes operating every 15 minutes or faster during the day. In contrast, today, only one MetroBus route operates every 15 minutes or faster. In addition, increasing frequency on these routes will provide more than half of our riders with access to high-frequency service.
We are also introducing 35 new local MetroBus routes operating every 30 minutes, instead of the 40-minute or 60-minute service that most current routes typically operate. By streamlining route design and increasing frequency, you’ll see our buses doing what they do best – moving lots of riders in high-demand areas.
Q: How much will this plan cost?
A: The enhancements from Metro Reimagined will be supported using Metro Transit’s existing operating budget.
Q: This plan means I may have to transfer more often. Is this true?
A: Your new commute may include transfers, however, your overall travel time should be reduced. In order to provide faster trips, better connections and add more frequency, it is not be feasible to operate buses on every street. Instead, the new system is designed around simpler, straighter lines that are more useful and more efficient.
Q: How would this plan impact weekend service?
A: Sunday service has been added to many MetroBus routes that currently do not operate on Sundays. We have also ensured that the service is consistent on Saturdays and Sundays, so you can better rely on MetroBus during the weekend without worrying about limited – or zero – service on Sundays. This improved service provides better options for riders over the weekend, whether they are headed to work, to entertainment or taking care of errands.
Q: Why didn’t Metro Reimagined address MetroLink expansion?
A: Rail infrastructure is a separate conversation and ultimately rests with regional leadership and the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the region’s municipal planning organization. While there are no direct improvements to MetroLink under Metro Reimagined, the plan will improve connections between MetroLink and MetroBus, creating a better transit experience for all riders.