As Metro Closes Bus Stops For Efficiency, Transit Advocacy Group Wants Riders To Stay On | St. Louis Public Radio

As Metro Closes Bus Stops For Efficiency, Transit Advocacy Group Wants Riders To Stay On

Jul 14, 2019

Sunday marks the end of service for hundreds of MetroBus stops in Missouri, as the transit agency works to improve efficiency.

Metro Transit is eliminating 450 of its more than 5,000 bus stops in St. Louis and St. Louis County to improve on-time performance. More changes will be coming later this year as part of the Metro Reimagined plan.

In response, Citizens for Modern Transit, a local public-transit advocacy group, is expanding its Try & Ride program to riders affected by the service changes.

Try & Ride requires participants to commit to using public transit for their commute for two months. CMT provides tickets for the first month. At the end of the first and second months, riders take a survey. CMT Executive Director Kimberly Cella said the program is based on the idea that once people learn to navigate and start to use public transit, they will continue to use it for their commutes.

Previously, Try & Ride was only available to first-time riders of transit, but Cella said CMT is offering the program to people affected by Metro’s changes until December.

“Now we’re expanding it because we know that these are transit riders, and we don’t want to see St. Louis lose any transit riders with a change being made to someone’s route,” Cella said. “So we’re hoping that this will be an incentive to get them to come back and stay on transit.”

As for the 450 bus stops shutting down, Metro Transit planner Jessica Gershman said most of the stops being eliminated are close, a block or less apart. 

“The idea here was to look at those stops that are spaced too close together for the most efficient bus service,” Gershman said.

Metro re-evaluates and tweaks bus stops quarterly, but the high number of changes this time around is thanks to new geographic information technology, which allowed for a wider overhaul of the system.

“That enabled us to do a comprehensive analysis of all these bus stops, the first one we’ve properly done in about 10 years,” Gershman said.

Starting Monday, the first day the stops are out of service, crews will begin dismantling the bus stop signs. Gershman said not all the signs can be taken down immediately, but they will all be removed eventually.

New riders and riders affected by the changes can sign up for CMT’s Try & Ride program on its website. Additionally, bus stops where service will cease are listed as Metro rider alerts, which are available on Metro’s website

Follow Nicolas on Twitter: @NDTelep

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org