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?”
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.
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.
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.
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."