August 3, 2009 | 8 Comments

Service Restoration Monday

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This morning, Metro restored a great deal of the bus service that was cut March 30 this year, and also began serving seven new bus routes. The service restoration is thanks to a one-time grant, using federal stimulus funds and an emergency appropriation from the State of Missouri, as explained in this Post-Dispatch article.  You can read some of the coverage of the service restoration here and here; or watch a video here.  Of course, not everything went smoothly this morning, but apparently that’s to be expected after buses have been “grounded” for a while; and also things seemed to have gone better than hoped. Were you affected by the service restoration this morning? Let us know how it went, and if you’ve tried any of the new routes, what you think of them.

8 thoughts on “Service Restoration Monday”

  1. Joe says:

    Metro needs to popularize or spread the word abut the new routes. I take new route 75 from Clayton Metro station to Hanley Metro Station and back. I am sad to see these buses and I am sure a lot of new bus routes are going empty. This is sort of express bus from either of the stations running on the highway 170 without any stops in between. If people want to go to either destinations quick, then this is the bus. Previously I used to take metro link connection from clayton to forest parkway debevillere station and then the Hanley station. Now i take this one single 75 bus route and i reach there faster. Lot of them travelling from shrewsbury i -44 need to get down at forest parkway debevillere station and then take the west bound train to lambert. Instead people can take the #75 from Clayton.
    Metro needs to have a table in local stores and also at the Metro station telling people various quicker routes to their destinations. Not many have access to compputer or use TRIP finder often to look at alternate faster routes.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Thanks, Joe, that’s a good suggestion. I spoke to David Allen, the Director of Arts in Transit and our current signage guru, and he said that they’ve been working on issues of how to better inform people about the routes serving various stations. We are also involved in upgrading the signage throughout the system, a little at a time – if you come downtown at all you might have noticed some new signage in the immediate downtown area; the plan is to work our way out from downtown through a series of small projects.

    As for the number of riders on the new (and restored) routes, we expect that numbers will build back up. Many of the people who were left stranded in May have had to find alternate means, and may not yet realize that the buses are back in operation. We’ll certainly know more once the routes have operated for a bit longer than two days.

  3. Jazzy_Jeff says:

    I took the #75 north bound on Monday evening (first day in operation). I was the 2nd passenger. It is a totally new route which I expect to take time for people to figure out. Plus there are fewer stops along the way (especially since a good chunk of the travel time is on the highways) As far as basic information on routes and time schedules go. I didn’t see any of the new schedules posted on the board at the Clayton Bus Depot. That is something I think should be fixed right away! I could have taken the #47 since it left sooner to get to my destination but wanted to test out the #75. I would like to make another comment that there should be a bus stop near Grandview Plaza (first area that a bus could stop) near I270 and Dunn Rd. The bus driver was kind enough to let us both unboard near there even though there was no stop. I could understand that new stops may take time plus since there are only 10 months of funding it may get slashed again. Happy Travels to all!

  4. d.j.wilson says:

    I was just wondering about why the new downtown “circulator” route (#99) did not go as far south as Chouteau. it turns east on Spruce and heads back north on 4th Street, which means it’s about two or three blocks short of where the #30, and maybe other buses, turn west of downtown. if the #99 went down to Chouteau, it would be more of a link to buses that skirt the edge of downtown. This is not a big deal, I was just wondering why it didn’t go the extra distance.

  5. Jennifer says:

    D.J., I forwarded your question to the Planning Dept. I know there’s a science behind route planning but have no idea myself what it is – it will be interesting to find out! As they say, “Watch this space” for the answer.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Gary Smith from Planning answers D.J.’s question:

    “The reason that the downtown Circulator only goes to Spruce Street is primarily the cycle time it takes for the route to leave the Civic Center MetroBus Center and complete the trip back to Civic Center MetroBus Center. The current cycle time gives the drivers a layover (recovery time) at the Civic Center MetroBus Center. An extension of the route to Chouteau would add both time and miles to the schedule and cut into the recovery time.

    Also, another reason is to provide the link between the hotels located on 4th Street to the America’s Center and the Convention Center MetroLink Station.

    Finally, those passengers using the 30 Soulard bus can access the 99 Downtown Circulator at the Civic Center MetroBus Center.”

    I hope that answers your question, D.J., but if not feel free to follow up!

  7. d.j.wilson says:

    well, there are always reasons, aren’t there? going the extra distance to connect with the #30 and #10 would add a few minutes, yet you could keep the same time for the “lay over” or “recovery” by adding a couple of minutes to the time between buses, making it 12 minutes instead of 10, or whatever. as for connecting the hotels, going to chouteau would have no effect on that, the bus would still go north on 4th street. and yeah, by riding the bus to 14th street, you could catch a #99 there, yet that would add more than a few minutes to the rider’s commute and thereby provide another disincentive to take the bus.

    thanks for the response. i’m sure it’s not a big deal for many riders. i do think cutting off bus service through downtown was a mistake (other cuts would have made more sense) and i had hoped the partial restoration of funding would have come up with better solutions for people who work downtown. the #99 is a plus, it just could have been better for riders.

  8. Jimmy Z says:

    Unfortunately, “temporarily restored” is no way to attract new riders. If you lost your route at the start of the year, you’ve already either found other ways to get to work or you’ve lost/changed your job. You essentially either have to be a masochist or a real transit wonk to commit to a new route that could very easily disappear in less than a year. I understand the bigger-picture marketing thinking behind the new bus stop sign covers (vote for a tax increase, or else), but I also understand human nature, and “temporary” is no way to sell new service!

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