Updated March 10 at 6:22 p.m. with Metro opening ceremony--Metro transit is celebrating the completion of a new bus center in North St. Louis County.
The $10.3 million facility in Ferguson opens on Monday and will correspond with a redesigned service plan for the north county area. The center includes an indoor waiting area, public restrooms, concessions and free parking.
Metro and St. Louis County officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday to mark the project’s completion.
Metro Transit Executive Director Ray Friem said the new center with 10 bus bays will allow for more direct routes to destinations like Clayton and downtown St. Louis.
“We were able to completely redesign transit service for North St. Louis County,” he said.” Our passengers will enjoy more direct service, more frequent service, faster transfers and connections to even more destinations. We’re able to expand bus routes into new areas that we’re not serving today.”
According to Friem, North St. Louis County is one of Metro’s fastest growing markets and accounts for nearly 20 percent of all ridership on the Metro bus system.
The center is also a significant upgrade from the vacant car dealership that it was previously, said Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III.
“Less than two years ago, this building was a symbol of blight and decay,” he said. “Next to us was a dilapidated strip center was not only an eyesore, but a haven for criminal activity. We are grateful to have worked with Metro to acquire this land next door and help clear that blight.”
Federal grants funded roughly 80 percent of the center's construction costs.
Metro’s new bus service routes will begin Monday morning.
Original story from Nov. 11, 2015:
Riding public transportation will become easier this spring for people who live or work in north St. Louis County.
Metro is opening a new $10.3 million transit center in north St. Louis County near St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley. The new center on Pershall Road near West Florissant Avenue will have restrooms, concessions, parking and an indoor waiting area.
Bus routes serving north St. Louis County will also be overhauled and expanded, with routes being reoriented around the new center. Local routes will span out from the center, and commuters will be able to take direct routes from the center to regional destinations like Clayton or downtown St. Louis.
“We’re not just layering new routes on top of our old routes. They’re all going to change in this area," said Jessica Mefford-Miller, chief of planning and system development for Metro Transit.
“We are going to have nine different routes that serve the North County Transit Center. Almost all of them excepting one is going to be very different than what we have now.”
Some communities, including Spanish Lake, Berkeley and Ferguson, will also see bus stops on more streets.
Mefford-Miller said 19 percent of Metro’s riders come from north St. Louis County, but the closest transit hub is the North Hanley MetroLink station near I-70. She says having a closer transit center will provide more efficient service for north county commuters.
“People are making connections between routes today on the street or at less formal transfer locations like St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley,” Mefford-Miller said, “So it’s been in our plans to construct a transit center … so we can improve the structure of our routes to make them more efficient and more productive and create a faster trip for our customers.”
“Their travel time will decrease and they’ll have more trip options. So the service will operate more frequently. We’re also adding a lot of service during the late evenings and the weekend hours,” Mefford-Miller added.
Metro is seeking public input before finalizing the bus routes. Feedback can be given online or at one of four public meetings:
- Tues. Nov. 10, 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Riverview Transit Center 9021 Riverview Dr. 63137
- Wed. Nov. 11, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. North Hanley Transit Center 4398 Hanley Rd. 63134
- Thurs. Nov. 12, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley Student Center, 3400 Pershall Rd. 63135
- Tues. Nov. 17, 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Trinity Catholic High School Library 1720 Redman Rd. 63138
Funding for the center and expanded service comes in large part from federal grants, with local tax dollars funding 20 percent of construction costs and 50 percent of expanded operating costs. Metro received a $2.34 million matching federal grant for expanded service to be used over three years.
Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.