Ray Friem

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.

St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Starting this summer, it will cost more money to ride some of Metro’s public transportation services. 

Metro’s Board of Commissioners on Friday approved transit fare increases that will go into effect on July 1. It comes after the agency solicited public feedback on how to raise fares for bus and train services.

Here’s what the fare increase will mean for riders:

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.