Metro Transit

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. 

Pasa47 / Flickr

Some Metro Transit riders saw new fare boxes as they boarded buses today.

The agency is testing the new fare boxes, which look a little like vending machines, on 40 of its buses.

The new fare boxes don’t allow customers to drop all of their money into the machines at the same time, and Metro Transit spokeswoman Dianne Williams said that change has been the source of most early complaints.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra serenaded officials and more than 40 onlookers as the ribbon was cut on the refurbished Grand Ave. Bridge.

Dignitaries said the bridge will be a critical link in the heart of the city, connecting cultural institutions at Grand Center with St. Louis University and Harris Stowe State University.   

Alderwoman Marlene Davis expects the $22 million bridge project and the adjoining $7 million Metro Scott Ave. Transit Project to yield an economic boost.

Metro will reopen its bus and MetroLink stops at the Grand Ave. Bridge tomorrow morning.

While crews were renovating the Grand Ave. Bridge, Metro was sprucing up its bus and train stops.

Upgrades include new seating at the bus stop along with redone elevators and stairs to the MetroLink station below the bridge.

Metro spokeswoman Patti Beck said the stop is a key part of Metro’s busiest route.

If you're a rider of public buses in St. Louis, you may see a newer vehicle pull up to your regular stop - in a couple of years.

Metro, which operates public transportation in the St. Louis region, has received a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, announced the grant via a press release Wednesday.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Some Missourians could soon have their criminal records expunged

Missourians could be able to get some criminal misdeeds expunged from their records.

Under newly approved state legislation, people could ask the courts to erase their criminal history after 10 years for a misdemeanor and after 20 years for a felony.

Those seeking to have criminal records expunged would need to have completed their prison terms, probation and parole. They also would need to have paid restitution and not have committed another crime.

File photo

Got somewhere to be in St. Louis this weekend? Here are a few traffic notes from the Missouri Department of Transportation and Metro.

From MoDOT:

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

St. Louis County Council gives initial approves $46 million budget for Metro

Last night the St. Louis County Council moved one step closer to approving two funding bills for the public transit agency, Metro -  despite one councilman raising concerns about how the agency has spent tax dollars in the past.

Councilman Steve Stenger had threatened to withhold around $6 million- the amount Metro transit paid to a developer in 2010 for spaces in a Brentwood parking garage.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Metro sees double-digit increase in bus passengers

St. Louis’ mass transit agency saw the biggest growth in bus ridership in the country during the first three months of the year.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Rehabilitation of the 138-year-old Eads Bridge is moving forward after two years of delays and ballooning project costs.

The project was to begin in 2009 with $24 million in federal stimulus funding, but labor disputes between contractors and unions, and the project’s pricetag, which inflated to $36 million, kept the bridgework from getting started.

John Nations, Metro’s President and CEO says the bridge’s age also made the bidding process difficult. 

Metro raises fares

May 18, 2012
St. Louis Public Radio

Metro Transit’s governing board voted Friday to increase the cost of passes and transfers starting in July.

According to Metro’s Chief of Planning and System Development, Jessica Mefford-Miller:

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Federal court sides with Quinn in pay dispute

A federal appeals court has sided with Illinois governor Pat Quinn over canceled pay raises due to thousands of union workers.

(St. Louis Public Radio photo)

Residents can weigh in starting today on proposed fare increases for mass transit in St. Louis. The Metro transit agency is considering three options for raising fares this year – one would increase only the costs of weekly, monthly and university semester passes; the second would raise the cost of all passes except day passes; and the third would spread the increase to all fares, including buses and Metrolink. 

(via Flickr/binkle_28)

Updated 2:20 p.m.

Metro tweeted from their official account at 2:11 p.m. that "Fiber optic cable has been restored and MetroLink and trains resuming normal service."

Original Story:

Commuters who use MetroLink, listen up: a damaged fiber optic cable will add to your travel time today.

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

A months-long project that will involve grinding Metrolink’s entire system of rails begins Friday night.

It’s the first time since the late 1990’s that Metro has done the grinding on its light rail line. Metro spokeswoman Dianne Williams says it will make the track more smooth and improve riders' experience. 

"It needs to be done periodically. It simply extends the life of the rail, and that's a big investment in the track," Williams said.

The work will be done at night, which means people may see bright red sparks where the grinding of metal on metal is being done.

UPI/Tom Uhlenbro

Insurers have spent more than $1 billion in Joplin tornado claims

After spending about $1.13 billion in claims tied to the Joplin tornado, insurers expect payouts to continue to grow. 

The head of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration says total insured losses could be $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion. John Huff called the tornado the "largest insurance event in Missouri history."

(via St. Louis Downtown Airport Facebook page)

Officials say the completion of improvements to the main runway at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia will help the facility expand its clientele and generate new business. 

The six-month, $7.4 million project widened and lengthened the runway and improved the runway’s lighting system. Airport director Bob McDaniel says they also strengthened the runway to support larger aircraft like the Boeing 757 and Airbus 320.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The Metro Board of Commissioners announced today that they have passed their operating budget for fiscal year 2012, which begins July 1.

Metro's operating costs will be significantly impacted by higher fuel costs and the "volatility" of metal prices for parts and supplies Metro said in a release.

So, will fares go up? Metro said no:

(St. Louis Public Radio)

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. announced today that St. Louis has been awarded a $4 million federal grant for public transportation upgrades.

The money will be provided jointly by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, according to a press release from McCaskill's office. 

So, how will St. Louis use the money?

The release states that the grants will be used to aid in the replacement of up to 12 buses in the Metro's current bus fleet.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Improved traffic flow and safer conditions for pedestrians who use the Grand Blvd. bridge are two of the benefits of the 15-month closure that will start at 5am on Monday, March 14th.

The 52-year-old crossing is structurally deficient, and in danger of being closed permanently, says the city's chief engineer, Rich Bradley.