The Gateway Go Card, which provides area youth a 50 percent discount to ride MetroLink and MetroBus across the entire bi-state region, is returning for summer 2019. Following the success of the pilot program last summer, the program aims to once again provide mobility and independence to young people in the St. Louis region. The Gateway Go Card gives young persons, ages 13 to 25, an easy, reliable and affordable option to commute to summer jobs, camps, recreational programs, personal and professional development opportunities and other destinations. This innovative regional transit youth initiative is a partnership between the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Clair County, St. Clair County Transit District, Metro Transit and Bi-State Development. It runs from June 1 through August 31, 2019.
“As a region, when we look to the future, we must focus on our young people and unlocking their ability to connect to new opportunities, so they can realize their full potential as a critical component of our growth, our development and our success as a region,” says St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, who is credited with initiating the idea for the test program in 2018.
One of last year’s Gateway Go Card success stories, Krewson says, is Tim’mya who had graduated from high school in spring 2018 but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do after graduation. An animal lover, she ended up with a summer job in a dog day care through STL Youth Jobs, but finding transportation to get to work was a struggle, so much so, that her employer was concerned it would become an obstacle. However, soon after starting the job, Tim’mya secured a Gateway Go Card as part of the pilot program, and it made it gave her access to reliable transportation to get to her summer job. That job became a permanent position for Tim’mya and that opened the door for her to become independent and get her own apartment. It ultimately put her on her current path to pursue a degree so she can become a veterinarian technician and eventually a veterinarian. Krewson says Tim’mya is just one of the many success stories from 2018, and the partners behind the transformative program hope it will create similar opportunities for hundreds more young people this year.
“I can’t think of anything more important to the growth and development of our youth than to have that first job opportunity,” says St. Louis County Executive Sam Page. “This is a real opportunity to make a real impact in the lives of our young adults and it’s great to see Bi-State Development stepping up to provide this program.”
St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern says, “The Gateway Go Card program is important.” He sees it as a way to connect young people to opportunities while also creating lifelong users of the public transit system. “It offers big savings on transit passes and is a simple way we can support our youth and make it easier for them to pursue their dreams, no matter where they are or where they want to go in the bi-state region.”
Olympic Champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee supports the Gateway Go Card program which benefits young people who participate in summer activities at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation. “Being able to remove the barriers and give our young people, not only at the JJK Center but young people from all over this region, an opportunity to pursue their dreams without any barriers being in the way is a blessing,” says Joyner-Kersee. The Jackie Joyner-Kersee MetroLink Station is conveniently located adjacent to the JJK Center in East St. Louis, Illinois.
Jessica Mefford-Miller, Metro Transit Executive Director, says the program an investment in the region’s youth, and says 52,000 times during the pilot program last summer, a Gateway Go Card holder used their card to ride the region’s main transit system. She says she wants to build on that success this year.
“This is really more than just transit passes. This is a commitment to expand access to opportunities, to work to ensure we are leading our young people to career paths and not leaving them behind in a growing economy,” Mefford-Miller says. “We need broad cross-sector collaboration to create these pathways. We need organizations like the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center, Ready by 21 and the United Way to wrap their arms around these young people and help them along their journey. We need businesses to give them that first job, or internship or that training opportunity.”
Collaboration and partnerships as part of the Gateway Go Card program are top of mind for Taulby Roach, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bi-State Development. Roach frequently refers to the region’s transit system as a community or a neighborhood.
“You strengthen neighborhoods through partnerships and this is evidence of the partnerships that we need,” Roach says.
Securing a Gateway Go Card is easy. Young people who provide proof of age using a driver’s license, birth certificate, state ID, school ID or passport, will be able to purchase transit tickets or passes at a 50 percent discount to ride MetroLink and MetroBus routes on the entire Metro Transit system in St. Louis and St. Louis County in Missouri and in St. Clair County in Illinois. This fare program uses a special version of the Metro Transit Gateway Card smart card, and young people will be able to load one-ride tickets, two-hour passes and monthly passes directly onto the Gateway Go Card at half the normal price. The discounted monthly pass is just $39.
The Gateway Go Card will be available at three locations, where Metro Transit staff will be available to help them navigate their journey on the transit system:
Info Bus at their location by phone at 314-982-1500 or 618-274-1500 or by email at MyGatewayCard@MetroStLouis.org.
For more information about the Gateway Go Card, visit MetroStLouis.org/GatewayGo.
About Metro Transit
About Metro Transit: Metro Transit operates the St. Louis region’s public transportation system which includes 400 clean-burning diesel buses that serve 83 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 operated by Bi-State Development.