“We had excellent hearings this year, but it became very clear that until we raise the awareness of the public and the need in the public that we would be spinning our wheels to move any further," Stouffer said.
Warmer weather, a sunnier economy, and higher gas prices are driving more riders to public transportation in St. Louis. Overall Metro ridership was up 8 percent in the last half of 2011 compared to the previous year.
Dianne Williams is Metro's director of communications.
"Twenty-three million times someone stepped on a metro bus, a metro train, or a metro caller ride. That's up about 2 million boardings from the same period last year," Williams said.
Starting next month, passengers who ride MetroLink or Metro buses will be be able to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables at certain transit centers.
The mass transit agency is partnering with the Sappington Farmers Market community program, Mobile Market, to sell locally-grown farm foods in areas where nearby residents have little or no access to fresh fruits and vegetables.