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Metro bracing riders for service cuts

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By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Public transit riders in the St. Louis region will soon see signs popping up at bus and Metrolink stops warning of impending service cut backs.

As of Monday signs are going up at more than 2,000 bus stops that will be out of service on March 30th.

Metro President Bob Baer says he hasn't been able to find a source of short-term bridge funds to use for operating costs.

"We were in Jeff City last week, we talked to the St. Louis caucus, talked to the speaker, talked to the president pro tem. We got a lot of moral encouragement but no check," says Baer.

Baer says Metro's next best option is getting another transit funding measure on the ballot in St. Louis County in the spring of 2010.

Metro will continue to provide service to disabled riders through a group of private vendors.

Baer says regional employers such as county hospitals are considering some form of partial funding to keep bus service running.

"St. Lukes is going to be eliminated, St. Anthony's is going to be eliminated, Chesterfield is going to be eliminated," says Baer. "Those are all service areas we'd like to serve but unless something happens something happens we're not going to be able to do so."

St. Clair County in Illinois is contributing $2 million to continue Metrolink service on the blue line to Fairview Heights.

Metro does not stand to benefit from any federal stimulus dollars since that money is earmarked for capital projects and Metro needs operating money.

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