It was reported that an MTA Long Island Rail Road train hit the end of the track this morning, resulting in onboard injuries.
Metro works with the Federal Transit Administration to create a system design and operating policy that will ensure the safety of our customers. With respect to terminal end collisions our current design of all our terminal end stations includes a bumping post that is rated to safely absorb an impact of up to give miles per hour. This bumping post slides along the rail to absorb the energy and slow the train. Beyond this physical bumper, we restrict the speed of our trains to five miles per hour. The combination of these two precautions is designed to mitigate any serious injuries associated with a terminal end collision.
Fare inspection at MetroLink platforms is indeed the primary mechanism for validating fare payment, and is supplemented by onboard sweeps by fare inspectors and local law enforcement. Fare inspectors are not assigned to all thirty seven MetroLink Stations during all operating hours, but rather are concentrated at the highest boarding stations, and are supported by those roving inspectors and law enforcement officers.
Metro has inclement weather plans in place across our agency. These plans include a number of potential scenarios and prescribed responses, including:
- Operating plans for MetroBus and MetroLink that respond to snowy or icy conditions. Some Metro buses have published “snow routes” that correspond to streets where buses have difficulty traveling. MetroLink can experience delays during icy conditions. Like motorists, Metro buses most frequently experience delays due to reduced speed on snowy or icy roads.
- Metro communicates any disruption in service through a network of information channels, including or own website and social media channels; media released covered by local news outlets; and platform and onboard announcements. Stay tuned to these information channels for updates on your commute.
- Metro’s maintenance team and contractors are prepared to de-ice, plow and shovel snow at our stations, transit centers, and platforms.
- Implementation of these winter weather plans are overseen by a centralized control center that works to ensure continuity between each of these different units, and keeps our communications team informed of service plans in real time.
2017 is an exciting year for transit in the St. Louis region. Our regional partners including East-West Gateway Council of Governments, the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County will conduct conceptual design studies for potential MetroLink expansion. Metro is supporting these ongoing planning efforts.
Metro is soon to embark on evaluation of our transit system design, focusing on bus service. This work will include a comprehensive analysis of service productivity, and an exploration of different strategies for meeting regional mobility needs into the future. These strategies could include some change in route design; schedules; and methods of delivering service such as vehicle types, route types (i.e. express routes, priority routes, bus rapid transit, etc). To support the evolution of our service model, we will continue electric bus testing and exploring integrating transit with transportation network provider service in some markets. We anticipate this work will define the evolution of the MetroBus system for the next ten years. That’s pretty exciting. Stay tuned for more information on this effort, which will include a public conversation about the future of our transit system.
Thank you for your feedback about your positive experiences, and we will share your recommendations for improving our service with our Public Safety Team.
Metro has a limited number of smart fare payment cards, called Gateway Cards, in circulation now. These cards are part of a testing program for our hardware and software, and this testing program will soon be expanded. We anticipate rolling cards out to the general public beginning in 2017. The implementation of Gateway Cards will occur in several phases, likely spanning 2017 – 2018.
Once fully implemented, Gateway Cards will replace paper and magnetic stripe tickets, passes, and transfers currently available. These cards can be reloaded with cash or products (i.e. monthly pass, semester pass, etc) via our website, ticket vending machines, and a network of third-party vendors like grocery stores and other retailers. This will make paying fares, and fare enforcement more convenient.
Both St. Louis and Kansas City have dynamic plans for transit expansion and enhancement. We’ve been following Kansas City’s bus rapid transit (BRT) implementation closely, as the St. Louis region also has plans for similar service. I do want to highlight some of what this region is doing to enhance and expand our transit system. The Metro system has enjoyed several successive light rail expansions, and since 1993 the region has constructed 46 miles of light rail. The St. Louis region will soon open its first modern streetcar this year (the Loop Trolley). Any further expansion of transit would require a regional decision, and corresponding funding.
Metro actively works with our regional partners, including MoDOT, IDOT and the local jurisdictions and counties that own our major streets on transit, road, and streetscape projects. Through our parent company, Bi-State Development, we are also actively engaged in regional land use planning including transit-oriented development planning.
We mentioned in an earlier thread an upcoming comprehensive operational analysis study that will identify short and mid-term goals and projects for our bus system. This work is consistent with the planning approach of other major transit entities, including KCATA.
Metro did not offer free fares on New Year’s Eve, however we are actively exploring opportunities to provide free or promotional fares to stimulate ridership growth.
Thank you for your interest in the Metro on the Go app (available via Android and Apple platforms). The max walking distance in the Metro on the Go app is currently set to 0.4 miles. We have arrived at this figure after several adjustments based on customer feedback. It could be changed to a higher number, however we’ve found we receive negative feedback above 0.5 miles. Ideally this would be a setting that individual users could customize based on their own preference, however this feature is unavailable at this time.
We’re glad you want to ride more and we continue to endeavor to make transit fares competitive. This becomes more difficult in light of record low gasoline prices. Here’s a little background: when fares are set, we must strive to recover approximately 20% of the cost to operate service from passenger fares; the remainder of operating costs are supported primarily by local sales tax proceeds, so wo do have some limitations with respect to pricing.
We appreciate your suggestion of a hybrid pass. You may find increased flexibility with the forthcoming Gateway Card, which is a “smart” fare payment card. If you ride occasionally, you may wish to load cash on your card, rather than a monthly pass. We are in the process of refining our planned fare policy, and we will consider your feedback in that discussion.
You may also be eligible for an employer subsidy, or you may be able to purchase your monthly pass with pre-tax dollars through your employer and Metro’s Transit Benefits program; this program makes purchasing your monthly pass convenient and affordable.