MetroBus passengers may notice some cleaner bus stops around the St. Louis region in the coming months.
Metro Transit is launching an effort to keep its bus stops tidy by partnering with businesses, community groups, non-profits and even individuals in St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Clair County.
Under the new Adopt-a-Stop program, volunteers will pick up litter and monitor their assigned stops for one year with Metro-supplied trash bags and other resources. In exchange, sponsors will get a sign on the bus stop post.
“It’s similar to the highway program," said Metro executive director Ray Friem. "You come and you pick up this particular stop. We support them with safety equipment, things of that nature if they need it, so it's a real partnership. They're able to see the signs. They're able to get their advertising for themselves; and we get a better environment for our bus passengers. It's a win-win."
Acknowledging that tidiness has been a problem at bus stops, Friem said the program will help the stops stay in a condition "better than what we're seeing today."
He said his goal is to get 1,000 businesses and groups to adopt stops in the next two years. He's already got one signed up: Reliance Bank is the first corporate sponsor in the program.
Alonzo Shaw, Reliance Bank's community development officer, had previously gone to Metro about litter accumulating around the stop right outside the bank's Grand Boulevard branch. Out of those conversations came the partnership.
Shaw calls the program "innovative."
"So, the whole idea is to coordinate, team effort, to keep the stop clean on a weekly basis," he said. "We will make sure [the passengers] come to a viable area, where they can look at a beautiful, clean St. Louis." Reliance Bank's president of community banking, Allan Ivie IV, said getting involved is not just about giving back to the community, but also about branding and keeping customers happy.
"It’s important to us for our customers to know that what they are going to get is a clean, fresh-looking location, and I think this for Metro is the same thing," he said. "They are going to provide their customers the same thing. It’s going to be clean, it gives the perception of safety, and hopefully it will spread throughout city."
Reliance Bank is also adopting two MetroBus stops outside of its branch location at Manchester and Tower Grove Avenues.
There are no costs to apply or participate in Adopt-a-Stop. Those who are interested in applying can call 314-982-1466 or go to Metro's website.