Metro Transit

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Metro Transit is adjusting policies for its Call-A-Ride service that some disability advocates had claimed were unfair.

Starting July 1, the service’s so-called “no-show” policy will base suspensions on a percentage of a rider’s overall Call-A-Ride usage rather than a fixed number. Riders will also be permitted five minutes, instead of three, before they’re penalized for being late for pick up.

Detail of Lyndon Barrois Metroscape Image
Courtesy of Arts in Transit

Artists who contributed to Metro Transit's Metroscapes project are being featured in a gallery show at Hoffman LaChance Contemporary in Maplewood. The project began when Director David Allen and the rest of the Arts in Transit crew realized they had an abundance of advertising poster space left free this year.

“We thought that one way we could improve the experience for our riders at Metro is to put something beautiful in there,” said Allen.

File photo | Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

A transportation advocacy group is commissioning a study to find alternative funding mechanisms for public transit. 

Members of the ATU Latino Caucus joined local 788 and members of other local unions in a protest outside Metro headquarters on Friday, September 26, 2014.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Members of St. Louis’ local transit union demonstrated outside Metro headquarters Friday morning, in a protest dubbed a “Rally for Respect.”

Local workers were joined by members of other branches of the Amalgamated Transit Union, as well as members of other local unions to form a crowd of about one a hundred.

The group circled the Metro building for about an hour, chanting phrases such as “workers, riders, side-by-side,” and carrying signs that read “They called us an Oreo.”

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Under Secretary for Policy Peter Rogoff praised St. Louis' "vision" on Friday after the city received a $10.3 million federal grant for a new MetroLink station.

The planned light-rail station at Boyle Avenue and Sarah Street is a key part of the master plan for the Cortex innovation hub in St. Louis' Central West End. Rogoff said it will make it easier for workers to get to and from the developing high-tech area of midtown.

Courtesy of Citizens for Modern Transit

Metro Transit has secured most of the funding it needs to build a new MetroLink station in the Cortex innovation district.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is granting $10.3 million from its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, program.

“This is the lion’s share of the funding,” said Metro Transit President and CEO John Nations. The federal grant covers nearly all of the project’s nearly $13 million cost.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

The union that represents local bus and train drivers and mechanics picketed outside Metro headquarters in downtown St. Louis Thursday.

About 60 members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) circled Metro’s office building for more than hour in the midday heat, carrying signs and chanting. Chants alternated between “Nations’ pockets are lined with gold” and “We are one ATU.”

Many of the workers were upset that Metro CEO John Nations’ annual salary will increase by $75,000 beginning in 2015. Union members say they haven’t received a raise in six years.

Courtesy of Metro

Metro is building the North County Transit Center to make the public transit experience more comfortable for big chunk of its ridership. But Metro COO Ray Friem jokingly said his agency has an ulterior motive for the project.

“I’ll be honest with you. The real reason to do this is to say that a bus system took over a car dealership,” Friem said on Tuesday. “Who would have thought that was ever going to happen?”

Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio

Jordan Wilson saw the No. 70 Grand Line’s capacity issues firsthand.

The north St. Louis County resident is a regular rider on Metro’s buses. When he rode the Grand Boulevard line, it was filled to the brim.

“I can see that it’s already packed, and the need is already there,” Wilson said.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Ray Friem of Metro has a simple message to riders of its Grand Line: “The big buses have arrived.” 

Metro showed off its refurbished, 60-foot, articulated buses on Friday. The buses represent the transit service’s response to overcrowding on the #70 Grand Line. Metro’s busiest route is often so crowded that riders have to stand – or can't even get on.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

The Number 70 Grand bus is Thelonda Malone’s primary source of transportation — besides her feet. 

Malone uses the Metro Transit's busiest bus route to get to and from work. She says it’s useful. But some aspects of the ride could use some improvement.

For one thing: When Malone gets off work at 5:30 p.m., she says she has a “50 percent chance of even being able to get on the bus.” If Malone does catch that second bus, she usually has to stand.

(MoPIRG)

A new report suggests that Americans in urban areas are driving less.

The analysis of the 100 largest urban areas in the country by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that since 2000, fewer commuters are using cars to get to work. And in most cities, the use of public transportation has gone up (since 2005), and more people are biking to work or working from home (since 2000).

But, in St. Louis, the trend is less clear. Fewer workers are relying on cars, but the use of public transportation has also decreased.

St. Louis Public Radio Staff / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay announced a new program today that’s geared toward building low-income housing near MetroLink stations and MetroBus stops.

The city will use $1 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to spur development around public transit.      

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said easing transportation costs can help low-income residents move up the income ladder, giving them affordable access to things like jobs and education.  

Big picture, he said the idea falls under the city’s Sustainability Plan.  

(via Flickr/binkle_28)

Metro Transit and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788 are heading back to the bargaining table on Wednesday afternoon.  

The central issue continues to be the retirement package offered to new transit workers.

Pasa47 / Flickr

Starting Wednesday, Metro Transit will begin installing new fare boxes on all of its buses, and if your daily commute includes a MetroBus ride, you might want to plan on some delays.

Metro tested the new fare boxes on around 40 buses, and customers won’t be able to drop all of their money into the machines at the same time.  Metro Spokeswoman Patti Beck says they’ve learned from their pilot program that it takes some time for people to get used to a new way of paying.

“But then that reverts to the normal boarding process about after a three week period,” Beck says.

St. Louis Public Radio Staff / St. Louis Public Radio

The mass transit agency Metro says buses and trains will run as usual for Fair St. Louis this week, despite the possibility of a labor strike.

Vice president of marketing and communications Dianne Williams says Metro is monitoring negotiations with its union, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788.

"We do expect to be able to serve Fair St. Louis this week," Williams said. "We will, if we're able, have extra services out on the street. We do every year for Fair St. Louis to accommodate the crowds."

binkle_28 / Flickr

As tensions with management rise, Metro Transit workers have authorized a process that could ultimately lead to a strike.

Now, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788 must send the request to strike to its international officials for approval.

Then, local Union President Mike Breihan said they have to wait for a final decision from the mediator, which is expected at the end of this month.

“If we cannot come to an agreement we have to post the results in the paper for ten days,” Breihan said.  “After the ten days we could strike if we needed to.”

Metro Transit - St. Louis

A class-action lawsuit alleging privacy violations by the St. Louis transit agency Metro has been settled. The winners get free rides on the MetroLink light rail system.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Metro last month agreed to settle the suit claiming the agency violated federal law when its ticket vending machines printed receipts showing the last four digits of credit or debit cards, plus the expiration dates, from Jan. 21, 2010, to Aug. 16, 2011.
 

Pasa47 / Flickr

If you’re hopping on a bus Monday morning you might notice some small changes in your route.

Updates to more than 20 MetroBus routes are going into place on Monday morning.

Metro Spokeswoman Dianne Williams says the alterations are meant to improve services for riders and help buses stay on-time.  

“Metro consistently monitors traffic patterns, new businesses coming, old businesses leaving, and all of that impacts how we plan services for this community,” Williams says

St. Louis Public Radio Staff / St. Louis Public Radio

Some MetroLink riders can expect delays this week as upgrades are made to parts of the track in both Missouri and Illinois.

The track work  starts tonight and will continue all week. 

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