Metro eyes restoring roughly one-third of recent service cuts

The Metro transit agency’s Board of Commissioners last week authorized staff to proceed with a plan to restore transit service to roughly one-third of routes eliminated March 30.

The restoration of transit service is possible because the Missouri Legislature recently approved a measure containing $12 million in federal stimulus/stabilization funds for Metro. The legislation has been sent to Gov. Jay Nixon and requires his signature to become effective.

The one-time $12 million emergency appropriation would fund some of the $35 million in transit service discontinued in late March.

On March 30, Metro’s buses and Call-A-Ride vans ceased operation in south county and west county outside the Interstate 270 loop. MetroBus service was cut by 43 percent, including the closing of 24 routes.

In addition, more than 500 employee positions were cut.

As proposed, the service restorations are designed to deliver maximum access to employment centers, address the overcrowding on highly traveled routes and improve longer distance commutes, according to Metro. The service could begin as early as August and would last for one year.

The proposed changes include:

• Service enhancements — additional trips, improved frequency and/or routing changes — are proposed for 4 Natural Bridge, 11 Chippewa, 13 Union, 16 City Limits, 40 Broadway, 49 Lindbergh, 57 Manchester, 59 Shaw, 61 Chambers Road, 70 Grand, 74 Florissant, 90 Hampton, 91 Olive, 94 Page, 97 Delmar, 98 Clayton-Chesterfield and 198 Ballas Outer 40.

For 49 Lindbergh, weekday bus service would be restored between the Ballas MetroBus Center and the Jefferson Barracks Veterans Affairs Hospital, via St. Anthony’s Hospital, with service operating every 60 minutes. Service between the North Hanley MetroLink Station and Ballas MetroBus Center would be provided every 30 minutes during peak hours and every 60 minutes during midday and evening periods. Saturday service would be restored between the Ballas MetroBus Center and the South County Shopping Center, via St. Anthony’s Hospital, with service operating every 60 minutes.

• Service Restoration — The following routes are proposed for restoration of service: 66 Clayton-Airport, 40X I-55 Mehl-ville Express, 58X Twin Oaks Express, 174X New Halls Ferry Express, 194 Page Limited and 410X Eureka Express. These restored routes will not have the exact routing and scheduling as they had before March 30, but will provide similar service.

For 40X I-55 Mehlville Express, express bus service would be restored between the Missouri Department of Transportation Richardson Road Park-Ride Lot and downtown St. Louis. Morning service would operate from the MoDOT Richardson Road Park-Ride lot, to Meramec Bottom Road, the South County Education Center Park-Ride Lot, Lemay Ferry, Butler Hill Road, the MoDOT Reavis Barracks Park-Ride Lot, north on I-55 to Truman Parkway, Chouteau, 14th Street, Market, 9th Street, Washington Avenue and the Convention Center MetroLink Station. Evening service would follow the reverse of morning service. The route would operate on a 30-minute frequency, with a total of five morning trips and five evening trips per weekday

• New Bus Service — 6 Fenton Gravois Bluffs, 158 Hanley Chesterfield and 99 Downtown Circulator.

• MetroLink — No changes are planned to MetroLink service.

5. Metro Call-A-Ride service will be re-stored to those areas within three-quarters of a mile of restored MetroBus service.

Metro is seeking public comment about the proposed restoration plan. Comments may be made by phone at (314) 335-343 or to restoration2009@metrostlouis.org.

Comments also can be sent to: Metro, Attn: Planning-Restoration 2009, 707 N. First St., St. Louis Mo. 63102.

All comments must be received by 5 p.m. Monday, June 8.