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March 26, 2020

COVID-19 Update: MetroBus Riders Encouraged to Plan Ahead for Delays

Metro Transit is committed to providing transit services for those who need to take essential trips in the bi-state region during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to fewer workforce resources, it is necessary to reduce the frequency of MetroBus services, and riders are encouraged to plan ahead for delays and allow more time for their commutes on MetroBus.

“MetroBus, MetroLink and Metro Call-A-Ride Operators have been heroic in their efforts to serve the region throughout the COVID-19 crisis. They are working on the front lines to ensure doctors, nurses, hospital staff, food service workers, grocery and pharmacy workers and others are able to connect with their important responsibilities,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, Executive Director of Metro Transit. “But, like many in the region during this challenging time, they also need time off for their health or to care for children and loved ones.”

Metro Transit is currently operating a modified weekend service schedule. It takes several hundred operators every day to provide those services, and as the available manpower numbers are reduced, it will not be possible to operate every scheduled MetroBus trip. MetroBus customers may experience delays in the days ahead as the region continues to address COVID-19.

Details of MetroBus Service Adjustments:

All MetroBus routes may experience delays. Eliminating MetroBus trips will reduce the frequency of a bus route. For example, if a bus is scheduled to arrive twice an hour, eliminating a trip will mean it only arrives once an hour. Metro is focused on maintaining service levels on higher ridership routes serving medical centers and other important destinations, but all MetroBus routes may experience delays.

As the region continues to be impacted by COVID-19 into April and beyond, a new service plan is being developed that will align operations to available workforce resources, which will allow for more reliable, on-schedule transit services.

New limits to total number of bus passengers. To help minimize potential exposure to COVID-19, all buses will limit the number of passengers that can be on board at the same time equal to the maximum seated capacity of the bus, which for most buses is between 30 and 40 passengers. Once a bus it at capacity, it will not pick up additional passengers until others have exited the bus and more room is available.

Metro Call-A-Ride vans may support MetroBus services. Some MetroBus routes currently experiencing very low ridership may be operated by Metro Call-A-Ride vans.

For MetroBus Customers:

Stay home if possible. Limit travel for essential trips only. Even though the transit system is seeing low ridership numbers due to COVID-19, reducing frequency may create a situation where keeping a safe social distance is a challenge. Residents are encouraged to stay home and shelter in place if possible, which will help Metro better serve health care workers, food service employees, nursing home workers and others who need public transit.

Allow extra time for MetroBus commutes until further notice. With delays possible on all MetroBus routes, riders are encouraged to plan ahead and allow more times for their MetroBus commutes. The best way to stay up to date on whether a specific bus or MetroBus trip is in operation is through the Transit app. Available for iOS and Android devices, the Transit app provides real-time information on all MetroBus routes. All changes made to MetroBus service are updated to the Transit app, and customers can see in real-time when their next bus is arriving.

MetroBus customers can also contact Metro Transit Information for more details on their MetroBus commute. Metro Transit Information is available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 314.207.9786 (text) and 314.231.2345 (phone). Due to high call volumes, the texting option is recommended for a quicker response.

“We have taken any and all measures practical to strengthen this public system against COVID-19. But this is a daunting adversary, and we continue to brace against its impacts,” said Taulby Roach, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bi-State Development. “Consequently, the support from our partners and understanding from our customers will get us through this national emergency. We look forward to that day and the restoration of our transit community.”

About Metro Transit
Metro Transit operates the St. Louis region’s public transportation system which includes 400 clean-burning diesel buses that serve 77 MetroBus routes in eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois. Metro also operates MetroLink light rail vehicles on 46 miles of track serving 38 stations in the two-state area, and operates Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 122 vans. Metro Transit is a Bi-State Development enterprise.