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April 2, 2013

MetroBus celebrates 50 years of service to the Bi-State region

Patti Beck
Interim Director of Communications

50 Years of MetroBus Service

WHAT: MetroBus celebrates 50 years of service to the Bi-State region

WHEN: Wednesday, April 3, 2013; 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Central West End MetroBus Center, 4526 Children’s Place near South Taylor Ave., St. Louis, Missouri 63110

WHO: Speaking will be John Nations, Bi-State Development Agency/Metro (BSDA/Metro) President & CEO; David Dietzel, Chairman, BSDA Board of Commissioners and Ray Friem, Chief Operating Officer Transit Services. Also invited to the event are Gerhard Petzall, an attorney who helped craft the original contract that created the BSDA bus transit system; former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Phil Sutin, who wrote a series of stories in 1973 surrounding BSDA’s operation of the region’s bus system, and 97-year-old Elloise Reese who is one of the original MetroBus riders and has ridden the bus her entire life.

“It’s hard to believe that 50 years have gone by since Bi-State Development Agency first began operating 15 separate, struggling transit companies as a single entity, at the request of St. Louis civic and business leaders,” said John Nations, Bi-State Development Agency/Metro (BSDA/Metro) President and CEO. “This anniversary represents a significant milestone in our organization’s history, and is another example of how we have been providing regional solutions to regional challenges since 1950.

We look forward to hosting this event as a way to reflect on our origins and all that we’ve accomplished over the past five decades as we’ve strived to meet the changing needs of transit riders across our region.

It was on April 1, 1963 at 12:01 a.m., that Bi-State Development Agency officially acquired the St. Louis region’s 15 privately-owned transit companies and began operation. Since then, MetroBus has evolved into an award-winning system which plays a vital role in connecting area commuters to jobs, medical appointments, educational institutions, sporting events and other important destinations.

Fueling the agency’s success is the transition MetroBus made in the 2000’s to a ‘Spoke and Hub’ system creating more efficient bus connections. Today, MetroBus consists of a fleet of 374 vehicles serving 75 routes across the St. Louis area, carrying 29,120,470 passengers annually.

As part of the MetroBus 50th Anniversary celebration, Metro Transit and the St. Louis Cardinals will give away four tickets to the home opener on April 8. Fredbird will help draw the name of the lucky grand prize winner of those tickets at the April 3 event. All entries had to be received by 4 p.m. April 1. The 1960s tribute band “Ticket to the Beatles” is scheduled to perform.

The Bi-State Development Agency/Metro (BSDA/Metro) is the operator of the Metro public transportation system for the St. Louis region, which includes the 87 vehicle, 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; 374 MetroBus vehicle fleet that operates on 75 MetroBus routes; and Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 121 vans.

BSDA/Metro also owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport and its surrounding industrial business park, and the Gateway Arch Riverboats, as well as operates the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center, the Gateway Arch Transportation System, and the Gateway Arch Parking Facility.

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