Good afternoon, St. Louis! We hope you're having a wonderful summer, and as you make plans for fall consider Metro Transit as your solution for getting all the places you need to go including work, school and everywhere in between. Please note that on Monday, August 22 Metro will make adjustments to schedules for MetroLink and most Missouri MetroBus routes. These changes come in response to the re-opening of MetroLink tracks in both directions across the Eads Bridge, following the renovation of this historic structure. Details about the service change, including maps and schedules, can be found at metrostlouis.org next week.
There was a recent settlement agreement between Ameren and the Sierra Club. Part of that settlement would provide some funds for the implementation of electric buses in the St. Louis region. Metro Transit is continuing to pursue development of electric bus technology, and will work with Ameren and other to make use of these funds for the purchase of electric vehicles or associated infrastructure. At this time we are working with manufacturers and don’t yet have a target date for acquiring these buses, but we look forward to launching a new electric bus program in the next few years.
Bus rapid transit (BRT), which is a higher-speed, higher-capacity type of bus-based transit service is certainly an idea worth pursuing in the St. Louis region. Metro and our partners, including St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis are continuing discussions about proceeding with implementation of BRT. The next logical step for the region is to proceed with final planning and design for one or more BRT routes, and we are currently pursuing funding for this purpose.
The City of St. Louis and St. Louis County are also pursuing feasibility studies for four potential MetroLink extensions. These studies, which will be led by East-West Gateway Council of Governments with participation from Metro, are an important step in advancing transit expansion in the region.
Metro has four series of light rail vehicles, which were put into service in 1992, 2001, 2003 and 2006. The introduction of new rail cars has coincided with service expansion. Light rail cars typically have a longer life than other vehicles such as buses, and there are many overhaul options available. We do not anticipate purchasing new rail cars in the near future, absent an expansion of service.
The #70 Grand has long been Metro’s busiest bus route, which made it the best candidate to receive the first delivery of 60’ articulated buses, which can handle more passengers than our other buses. At present we are able to accommodate passenger demand with our existing level of service, and we did think bus stops before we introduced the 60’ buses. We have explored introducing a higher level of service on grand, possibly with bus rapid transit (BRT) or express service overlaying local service. Either of these options would require additional resources, but would likely be productive. In the coming year we’ll be conducting some system evaluation and I anticipate revisiting priority service options (any enhancement of course would require funding).
The schedule changes that will be implemented on August 22 will be intended to preserve connections between the Red and Blue Lines at Forest-Park DeBaliviere MetroLink Station, as well as bus-rail connections elsewhere on the transit system.
Yes, all Metro buses are ultra-low sulphur diesel meet emissions requirements.
Metro does provide inventory of timetables to public sites such as libraries. We do require that libraries and other destinations contact us to order inventory. You may be aware that Metro has recently launched some new tools for transit trip planning, including our web-based TripPlanner, which also includes real-time trip planning information. The same information is available via Google Transit, Metro’s “Metro on the Go” mobile app, and numerous other mobile applications. Metro is in the process of launching additional tools including a service that would allow customers to retrieve next bus/train times via text or e-mail, as well as a subscription-based service for alerts. These technology options allow customers to retrieve trip planning information wherever and whenever they need it.
Divide by Zero,
MetroLink operators often change their head sign on their approach to their final station. Of course all trains departing Shrewsbury are heading east, as this is the terminal station. We haven’t often received complaints about customers boarding the wrong train at the end of the line.
Service on the #99 Downtown Trolley has decreased during periods of lower ridership, in part to allow the route to be extended further west. Additional frequency could only be accomplished with additional resources or by reducing service elsewhere. MetroLink does provide frequent service in Downtown, and many Downtown destinations are in close proximity to MetroLink.
We do not have any near-term plans to repaint Metro buses. With over 400 buses in our fleet, this would require considerable effort and resources and the exteriors of the buses are in very good condition. We have installed wraps on specially-branded routes, and new service types such as bus rapid transit, if implemented, would have a unique brand.
Each service change we monitor on-time performance and make adjustments where we are consistently behind schedule (this does not include accidents in the roadway, temporary construction, etc.). I’m pleased to report that MetroBus service is on time over 90% of the time, which is excellent for service that does not operate in its own right of way. If you are consistently experiencing a delay greater than five minutes, we’d like to hear about it.
The print schedules for the #99 Downtown Trolley do include the route number, but I will request that the marketing brochures also include this information.
Divide By Zero,
Platform announcements can be made very quickly from our control center. I will pass along your comment about your experience on July 13 at the Central West End MetroLink Station.
Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. I will look into this contact and ensure that the incident was investigated and you receive a response.
Thank you for a lively chat this afternoon, St. Louis! We'll be back next month. In the mean time, you may always reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org, via Facebook or Twiitter, or by phone at 314-982-1406.