Talk to Metro about buses and MetroLink

Talk to Metro about buses and MetroLink

Ask Metro Transit about bus and train schedules, new technology, fares and more in our monthly chat with the Metro experts. Join them at noon Wednesday, Aug. 7, to get answers to all your questions about how to get around the St. Louis area.

    Good afternoon St. Louis! As you may have seen, we recently released the final version of our comprehensive MetroBus service redesign for the Missouri service area. Through this plan, you’ll have access to bus service that better meets your transportation needs—with more frequent service; faster and more direct trips; improved weekend service and more convenient options for getting to work, school, shopping, errands and more. These enhancements will go into effect September 30. We’re happy to answer any transit questions you may have.
    Two general questions - what is the status of Metro Reimagined? And, has there been any progress on the Northside-Southside line? Thanks!
    Jimmy, the final version of Metro Reimagined will go into effect on Monday, September 30. You can find out all the enhancements coming to your route, by visiting metrostlouis.org/reimagined. As for Northside-Southside, a conceptual design study was completed the light rail corridor. This work refined design and operating plans, route alignment, and station locations first identified through a body of work that concluded in 2008. The next step in the project development process for a project like a Northside-Southside light rail corridor is an environmental impact assessment (EIS) and preliminary design. A federal application process would begin about mid-way through that work. That process lasts 2-3 years, and requires significant funding (all local funding). Metro and our partners at EWG have continued conversations with the City of St. Louis about advancing this work into the EIS phase.
    What’s the daily count for bus riders using the bike racks on the buses and are drivers still logging them into the fare boxes. Are more riders using the racks with more road diets coming online?
    MetroWest, we’re able to track ridership data using various tools; however, we do not currently have the technology to log bicycle usage on board MetroBus vehicles. We’ll forward your suggestion to our Metro Transit team for consideration.
    What are the prospects for express trains and/or buses?
    Christina, great question. In many large cities – specifically cities that feature heavy rail systems such as Chicago and New York City – express train service is achieved using dedicated rail usually situated in the middle of the line. Such a scenario would require significant rail infrastructure to be added to the current MetroLink system. There are no current plans in the works to add express train service. We currently offer express bus service to various parts of the St. Louis region. Under the Metro Reimagined plan, we’ll continue to offer express bus service, with six routes providing direct connections with limited stops to key destinations.
  • When is the metrolink expansion coming in?
  • Regional leaders who are part of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments help decide where MetroLink would be expanded in the future. It cannot be extended or expanded, however, without a designated funding source or sources. That could come from federal grants, state money, and/or local sources which could include private partners, like the Cortex Station which opened last year through a public-private funding partnership. The next MetroLink extension will occur in St. Clair County. You may have seen in the news recently that the Illinois Legislature and Illinois Governor approved $96 million dollars to extend MetroLink from the Shiloh-Scott Station to MidAmerica Airport.    
  • Are you guys considering barriers before entering the train like subway system in new york??
  • Jake, MetroLink, like nearly all light rail systems in the United States (for example, Minneapolis, Denver, Dallas, Los Angeles, etc.), is designed as a proof of payment system. While MetroLink’s 38 stations vary in design and neighborhood context, many stations are deliberately designed to be well connected to their surrounding environment. Unlike heavy rail systems designed to carry very large volumes of passengers (for example, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York, etc.) these proof of payment systems rely on a coordinated team of security, law enforcement and operations personnel to be present across the system to enforce fares, a passenger code of conduct, and criminal codes. Metro Transit is working to improve the presence and effectiveness of these teams across the transit system to reduce the incidence of fare evasion as well as nuisance behaviors and criminal activity. We have made progress, and there is still hard work ahead. Declining ridership and fare evasion are also occurring on heavy rail systems (with fare gates)- these are not challenges that we can build our way out of. We must rely on that coordinated law enforcement and security presence across the system, that presence that would still be necessary even if gates were present.
  • Are there any plans to re-paint the parking lines at Sunnen Station? For all intents and purposes, there aren't any lines for the spaces anymore.
  • Sunnen Station, thank you for letting us know about the Park-Ride Lot at the Sunnen MetroLink Station. We’ll forward your request over to the appropriate team members.
  • Good afternoon. Can you tell me when access to the Union Station platform via Clark street will be available again? This is the second time that this has been taken off line in the past year or so and with the other construction nearby it makes access to the station harder to get to.
  • Commuter, we don’t have an exact date to give you (as it depends on the progression of construction currently underway at the Union Station MetroLink Station). Right now, we’re targeting sometime later this year to reopen access to Clark Street.
  • Is there ever going to be a big roll out of the Gateway Card? And more so, will I ever be able to add passes online (the only thing I wanted it for)?! I've had mine for nearly 4 years now and nothing has changed!
  • Karen, thank you for being a loyal Gateway Card user. Your participation with this fare option allows our team to observe this technology in action and allows us to make modifications along the way. Since this is a pilot program, we intend to keep the usage size relatively small. Currently, Metro riders can purchase a Gateway Card – full-fare or reduced fare – at the MetroStore near the 8th & Pine MetroLink Station downtown or online at mygatewaycard.com. We plan to test an online reloadable feature for the Gateway Card, but a start date has not been set. In the meantime, we continue to explore alternative fare options such as Metro Mobile, a mobile fare option. We’ll continue to monitor feedback and evaluate how this type of technology fits with our other fare options.
  • Time and again I have difficulty boarding from central west end during peak times let alone with my bike. Also, riders who get on and off at CWE seem to stand in aisles even though there are lot of empty seats. Any thoughts?
    Aligo, thanks for letting us know about your bike and ride experience. As you may know, the Central West End MetroLink Station is the busiest light rail station across the system. To ease overcrowding and improve safety, we recently extended the MetroLink platform to address this congestion. Per our bicycle policy, we ask for cyclists to allow riders onboard before entering the MetroLink car. After all the other passengers have boarded or exited the train, enter the train at the rear door of the first train car or the front or rear door of the second train car. Remember, two bicycles can be accommodated in each area. If a MetroLink train is too crowded, you might have to wait for the next train before boarding with your bike. As for train etiquette, we encourage riders to use any and all available seats; however, riders are also welcome to stand. We encourage you to reach out to us via our Customer Care center with your suggestions on how to make your transit experience even more enjoyable.
    I have a comment / concern i have had a monthly pass for the last two years. I take the train from North Hanley to 8th and Pine. Im requesting can you guys put a public safety officer at every station to check tickets? The guards you have are rarely checking. I overheard to public safety officers talking about how much overtime they get but I never see them. I must be catching the train on their down time. So I figured since public safety is working can we see them. In the evening when I enter the county I see the police who are nice especially officer Ed always has a smile on his face plus he checks tickets and interacts with the community. I am beginning to think there is nobody that rides the trains to protect us in the city. I have even thought about the bus to add more time to my commute which isnt ideal but I dont feel safe in the city on the train.
    Jake, thank you for riding MetroLink. We will share your feedback with Public Safety and our police partners. Safety is our top priority, and it is our goal for you and every passenger to feel safe on the Metro Transit system so we appreciate your input. We are have increased our security presence at key transit locations and are continuing to make security improvements.
    Thank you St. Louis for another great Live Chat! If you haven't done so already, go ahead and check out Metro Reimagined to learn about all the exciting enhancements coming to your commute. As always, feel free to reach out to us anytime via our Customer Care team or social media. Have a great rest of the month!
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