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Metro

Officials are considering the addition of turnstiles to the MetroLink system.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council on Tuesday backed a bond refinancing plan for the Bi-State Development Corporation, which operates light rail and bus services throughout the region.

The move, which could help fund enhanced security services, comes as the transit service is asking for more money from the county — a request that’s going to be the subject of a council hearing in the coming weeks.

A new Belleville News-Democrat investigation challenges common perceptions about how safe MetroLink is.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Early Tuesday morning, the Belleville News-Democrat published an in-depth investigation into just how safe the St. Louis region’s MetroLink light-rail system is, ultimately concluding that it “isn’t as dangerous as you think” and that crime rates have declined.

Hours later, a man was shot and killed at the South Grand Boulevard Metro station during an argument between two other people. He was an innocent bystander waiting for a bus.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led an on-air discussion prompted by this juxtaposition.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 20, 2012 - A fare increase worries Charles LaRocco, a South Grand resident who depends on Metro’s service for his daily life.

Even though increasing the cost of a monthly pass by a few dollars a month may not seem like a steep boost in the grand scheme of things, LaRocco — who uses Metro often — said the costs can add up. He noted that he also pays for his wife’s disabled pass, meaning that his total now is about $102 a month.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 25, 2010 - Bob Baer is marking the end of his tenure as Metro's CEO and president but if he has his way about it, he's not riding off into the sunset. 

Bob Baer attended what may well be his last Metro meeting as a staff member last week. Former Chesterfield Mayor John Nations, who earlier this year led the successful ballot issue to increase St. Louis County's transportation sales tax, took over the reins from Baer as Metro CEO and president last Tuesday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 22, 2010 - Retiring Metro CEO Bob Baer is being honored with a new scholarship named for him, announced Dick Fleming, president of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association today.

The Robert J. Baer Endowed Scholarship in Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri at St. Louis will be awarded annually to a student in public administration, Fleming said. The announcement was made this morning at John Nations' first Metro board meeting as Metro's new CEO.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 2, 2010 - When Chesterfield mayor John Nations took on the job earlier this of running the campaign for Proposition A to help an ailing Metro, he had no idea that a few months later he would become the agency's new CEO.

"It was the furthest thing from my mind," he says.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 26, 2010 - On Monday Metro will restore much of the service it cut in March 2009 -- but if you assumed your bus will be back, you might be disappointed. The "restoration" won't be a time warp back to March 29, 2009, the day before Metro made massive service cuts in the face of a major budget shortfall.

Ray Friem, Metro's chief operating officer of transit services, prefers to call Monday's change a "redefinition" of Metro's service.

Riders react to Metro's restorations of service

Jul 21, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 21, 2010 - Nearly a month into the restoration of Metro service, some Metro riders have jumped back aboard while others are still waiting for their bus.

The June 28 restoration, which Metro called a "soft launch," mainly increased frequency on MetroLink and the most crowded bus routes, said Jessica Mefford-Miller, Metro's chief of planning and system development.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 1, 2010 - Metro today unveiled its "Downtown Trolley," an expanded version of its "Downtown Circulator No. 99" bus, which has been in operation the last several months.

But if the word "trolley" conjures up images of the streetcar Judy Garland rode in "Meet Me In St. Louis," forget about it. This "trolley" is a dressed up MetroBus.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 22, 2010 - Less than three weeks after St. Louis County voters approved more money for Metro, Missouri is taking back a hefty chunk of its aid.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that he has cut $4 million from the $12 million that the Legislature OKed last year as one-time aid to the region's public transit agency, which had slashed services a year ago after area voters rejected in November 2008 a half-cent increase in the sales tax rate.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 16, 2010 - St. Louis' disabled community could get expanded Call-A-Ride service under an option Metro is considering for its plan to restore service cut last year.

Currently federal law requires that Metro provide van service to the disabled within 3/4 of a mile of an existing bus or train route. The agency is considering creating a second boundary 1.5 miles from the routes with service offered at a higher rate than the current $4 ADA fare. However, Metro is also considering applying a portion of funds raised by the increased sales tax to reduce fares for all trips beyond the -mile boundary.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 8, 2010 - Chesterfield Mayor John Nations is winning deserved kudos for his leadership of the successful campaign to pass Proposition A, but St. Louis County's township breakdown shows that voters in his own backyard narrowly rejected the sales tax hike for Metro, the region's transit system.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 7, 2010 - St. Louis County election officials were still counting some of Tuesday's votes when supporters of Proposition A, the sales tax hike for Metro, declared victory amid deafening cheers at Washington University.

"This signals that the voters understand that public transportation is an essential component of job creation and economic growth," said a jubilant Chesterfield Mayor John Nations -- chairman of the chief pro-Prop A group, Advance St. Louis -- in an interview after addressing supporters, ranging from local business leaders to university students.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 31, 2010 -An unbiased review of the facts surrounding Proposition A in St. Louis County on April 6 will lead to a fair and obvious conclusion: The public-transit system in the St. Louis region benefits all of us, but cannot continue operations or make improvements without the new, long-term funding source provided by the half-cent sales tax in Prop A.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 23, 2010 - St. Louis County has a population of roughly a million people. According to the U.S. Census, only 10,300 St. Louis County residents use mass transit -- be it MetroLink, bus or Call-A-Ride. Fewer than half of that number use MetroLink. By contrast, 98 percent of St. Louis County commuters regularly use roads, not mass transit.

So, if Prop A passes, you'll wind up paying for a mass transit system that you don't use -- and don't need.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 19, 2010 - Last April, Metro's printed proposal for a $179 million operating budget opened with some stark words from Metro chief Robert J. Baer:

"The agency has been plagued with flat or declining revenue sources for many years. The annual budget process can best be characterized as a series of one-year 'temporary fixes' while in pursuit of a permanent solution."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 17, 2010 - The numbers paint Metro as a big-time operation. In the fiscal year that ended in June 2008 -- the last full year before a budget squeeze cut service -- the transit service boarded 33.4 million bus passengers and almost 20 million MetroLink passengers.

That's bigger than anything Erastus Wells could have imagined when he arrived in St. Louis back in 1843. In that year, Wells (he's the man for whom Wellston is named) partnered with Calvin Case to hitch horses to an omnibus and pull it along the cobblestoned streets of downtown St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 14, 2010 - To most residents of St. Louis County, April 6 is just another local election day. But to former St. Louis Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl, "This is the starkest civic choice in my lifetime."

Schoemehl sits on the board of Metro, the transit system. On April 6, voters in St. Louis County will turn thumbs up or down on Proposition A, a half-cent sales tax increase for Metro.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 16, 2010 - Joe Edwards and other supporters of a Loop trolley did not get the good news on Wednesday they were hoping for. The Loop Trolley did not win the $50 million-plus from the federal TIGER transportation grant program. Trolley projects in four other cities -- Portland, Ore., New Orleans, Dallas and Tucson -- got funding. But the Loop Trolley has other grant requests still pending. No St. Louis city or county projects got TIGER funding; Madison County got $6 million for a regional port district.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 21, 2009 - The St. Louis County Council took final action Monday afternoon to place a proposed one-half cent sales tax on the April ballot to provide more money for Metro, the region's financially strapped public transit system.

The vote was 4-3 in favor, the same as last week's preliminary vote.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Octt. 14, 2009 -What would the transit system of your dreams look like?

Metro riders attending the agency's first "Moving Transit Forward" community workshop Tuesday night got a chance to ponder that question and then found themselves becoming a transit planner and creating their ideal system -- if only for a moment.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 25, 2009 - Metro, St. Louis' public transit agency, today named Bob Baer as president and CEO. Baer, who has held the position on an interim basis since Larry Salci left the position abruptly at the end of 2007, will receive $190,000 a year in salary.

Baer, who will turn 72 next month, said the board asked him to stay on after a national search launched last year failed to turn up a candidate the commissioners felt was a right fit.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 16, 2009 - For some bus riders, Metro's partial restoration in August of the service it cut in March meant they could once again get to and from their destinations.

But for others, the restoration did little or nothing to ease their transportation problems. Even if their bus was brought back -- and some weren't -- new times and routings could still leave them without service.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 1, 2009 - One month into Metro's restoration of some of the massive service cuts made in March, officials say the plan is running relatively smoothly.

However, they are reluctant to talk about how many people have actually returned to the bus, saying it's much too soon to discern a trend.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 3, 2009 - Bus routes returned to the road Monday and riders and employees breathed a collective sigh of relief as Metro's partial-service restoration plan went into effect.

Metro spokeswoman Angela Fletcher-Mabry said the agency received mostly positive feedback on Monday about the restorations. "Overall things have gone really well and better than expected," Mabry said.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 30, 2009 - As the calendar speeds toward Aug. 3, the day Metro plans to restore some of the MetroBus and Call-A-Ride service it suspended March 30, a flurry of activity is underway behind the scenes.

Getting the wheels rolling again takes a lot more effort than simply recalling drivers and putting buses on the streets.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 24, 2009 - Metro has more money -- $7 million in federal funds -- to work with as it starts to restore on Aug. 3 part of the service it cut in March. With the new money available, the restoration, initially paid for by $12 million in state funds, will add more routes and last a year.

The federal government is relaxing its restrictions on two funding sources enabling the transit agency to restore more routes for longer than planned. Despite earlier rulings, Metro can now use part of its Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds and up to 10 percent of its federal stimulus funds for operating costs.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 22, 2009 - MetroBus and Call-A-Ride users may get some relief from the deep cuts in service the agency made March 30. The Metro Board of Commissioners approved a plan today to allocate the $12 million in state funding approved by the Missouri Legislature -- but they shouldn't expect that relief soon.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 7, 2009 - After going through a legislative labyrinth, the Missouri Legislature acted late Thursday to approve a federal stimulus bill that includes $12 million in one-time aid for the St. Louis area's financially troubled Metro transit system.

The bill, HB22, now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, where a spokesman said earlier Thursday that the governor remained concerned about the bill's $381 million price tag and "will review it very closely."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 6, 2009 - The Senate isn't likely to take up a package of projects funded with federal stimulus dollars until debate over the state's operating budget is complete. But one of the Senate's top Republicans says the bill -- which includes $12 million to help St. Louis' Metro transit system -- is in jeopardy.

In fact, Senate Majority Leader Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, used even stronger language to handicap the bill's chances of making it through the Senate.

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