Introducing New Metrostlouis.Org Home Page

www.metrostlouis.org

www.metrostlouis.org

We are proud to introduce a new look for the home page of Metro’s official website Metrostlouis.org!

We have been working hard at Metro to redevelop and redesign the Metrostlouis.org website.  The complete rollout of the Phase One of the project includes a redesign of the home page. Note, this new look and feel is only for the homepage. We wanted to provide an easier “dashboard” into the content our riders use the most.  The homepage prominently displays a trip-planning function, schedule and route info for MetroLink, MetroBus and Call-A-Ride, rider alerts, links to our blog and our long-range plan website, and other relevant transit news.

The other big change is the use of Google Transit as our public-facing trip planning application. Many users have preferred the interface and ease of use of Google Transit. Hopefully this change will make it easier for everyone to plan their trips on Metro’s system.  Google Maps also offers transit directions on smart phones, including information on nearby bus stops and earlier and later trip times.

Also note our social media links in the bottom right corner to our official Facebook fan page and Twitter feed. We are encouraging riders to become Fans and Followers to receive rider alert, important info, and provide feedback to Metro.

Phase Two of the new website includes a total re-working and redesign of the interior pages (yes, we know they are ugly and unfriendly; that is why we are working to change that for you!). Not only will the interior pages match the look and feel of the home page, but you also will see the following changes:

  • New menu navigation – we feel the site can be better organized
  • Many updates to content, including friendlier use of maps and schedules
  • More media content to help you use the system
  • Rider stories and experiences

The new website should be finished in the next several months.

Now, we want your feedback. Please leave a comment below!

48 Responses to “Introducing New Metrostlouis.Org Home Page”

  1. Cheryl
    February 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    I love the new look. Just one suggestion, change the search so that just hitting enter after typing in an address will give the same result as hitting “go”. I think using Google instead of Tripfinder was the right move.

  2. Marianne York
    February 6, 2010 at 12:38 am #

    What were you thinking? I use the Trip Planner 5 days a week. The previous Trip Planner was very simple and very easy to use…. it wasn’t broken – why did you break it???? I’m sure that the money used to revamp the service could have been used to improve routes and keep the system useful to the riders.

  3. Annie Wentz
    February 6, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    Just letting you know that the trip planner on the metro home page doesn’t work. Yes, the google map is better than the trip finder, and I like that you’re using that. However, putting the words “near 63102″ at the end of the search actually makes things worse. When I perform the same search on both your new homepage trip planner and the google map transit, the google map version knows where I am, but the trip planner thinks I’m miles away.

    That could use a fix.

  4. Heather
    February 7, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    I do not like the trip finder through google. I understand it’s probably easier for the site manager to forward to google to do the work, but it’s difficult for the user.

    Please take in account for the majority of the audience in which you are accomodating with the website.

    Thank you,

    Heather McDonnell
    Daily Transit Rider

  5. February 8, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Heather,

    What do you find more difficult about using Google trip finder? Would it help to have a tutorial available?

    Annie, I’m looking into the problem, and I expect IT will be flushing out any problems this week. Thanks for the heads up.

    I’m checking on the status of Trip Finder. Will get back to you.

    Courtney

  6. February 8, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    Annie, do you have a specific example? Paul and I couldn’t find the problem you are talking about.

    Cheryl – the problem with hitting enter right now is that it loads up the Google site search at the top of the website when you hit enter. That’s why you will reach a blank search results page. Paul is looking into it, but for now, please click on “Go” when trip planning.

  7. February 8, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    Cheryl – the “Enter” problem was fixed by our IT guys. Thanks for pointing that out!

  8. February 8, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    Marianne, Heather and others,

    We have switched over to Google Transit from TripFinder for several reasons:
    1) Ability to look up specific locations/addresses/streetnames is far superior in Google Transit (obviously, this is a general statement)

    2) Google Transit has an easier map interface. For example, you can move the map cursor around and see any area surrounding bus stops.

    3) We received many, many calls into Customer Service about the difficulty using TripFinder and inquiring about Google Transit, so we decided to phase out TripFinder.

    We know its a big change, but hopefully one that works better for everyone in the long run. If you have any specific questions about how to use the service, let me know and we can provide a tutorial.

    Thanks,
    Courtney

  9. February 8, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    Not sure who’s at fault for the incorrect connection data here.

    from: 3549 n lindbergh
    to: delmar loop metrolink station

    Google Transit says to transfer from the 49 Lindbergh bus at Woodson & Natural Bridge to MetroLink at Lambert East Terminal (Terminal 2?) by walking across I-70. Obviously, one would just take the bus to North Hanley instead, but other directions given by Google Transit could be even more misleading.

  10. February 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Herbie,

    I’ll talk to our google info person in planning. I do know that google transit, as an application, does often suggest walking routes, and it does pay a lot of attention to what it considers time-saving routes, even ones that require extra walking. But I can see that those directions are problematic. I’ll see what I can do, and let you know.

    Courtney

  11. Robert
    February 8, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    The google map planning feature is a welcome addition, however the original Trip Planner should be kept easily available from the Home page. It works very well for experienced users and offers more information and flexibility than google maps.

  12. Melanie
    February 8, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    wish you would have left an option to do either, like before. I knew about google but i always preferred it on this website, if people were having a hard time tell them to go to google themselves. i agree with the person above, it wasnt broken why’d you fix it? google doesnt give you multiple options on one screen, nor does it give you the choice to plan with advanced options with specific buses or your walking speed, google is such a simplified downgrade, do me a favor and at least keep http://tripfinder.metrostlouis.org/ up for those of us who did not ask or want the change!

  13. February 8, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

    Thanks for everyone’s comments. Please keep them coming, and we will pass them along.

  14. nA
    February 8, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    1. “Earlier” and “Later” features are missing in Google Transit (GT). I understand that I can change the time but that is cumbersome because I need to go back to the original window and change it which opens yet another window!

    2. If one did not type in the exact address, tripfinder(TF) used to give me a drop down list with landmarks which was very helpful. This is missing in GT.

    3. Route Exclude/Include was a fabulous feature which can be found under “Advanced Options” in TF. This is missing in GT.

    4. In GT, prominence is given to map over directions. For a passenger who is new to area, map is overwhelming and line-by-line directions are much preferred.

    I wish you good luck in handling questions about new tripfinder!

  15. nA
    February 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

    Ohh I see, there is a “Show Options” in GT using which I can change the time. May be it should not be hidden. And, by the way, it is not at all intuitive. Why does it say “Add Destination – Show Options”?

    I tested it and I cannot add destination..

  16. Thaddeus
    February 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    The new tripfinder is extremely inconvenient. I can’t save addresses anymore and I can’t just put in a metro station name and get the directions to get there. I don’t see the point of getting rid of the old system if nothing new was created (trip finder wise).

    • February 9, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

      Thaddeus,

      I tested it to find directions to “Central West End MetroLink station” and it worked. Which station did you have problems getting directions to?

      Currently, you cannot save maps (that I’ve found) but your computer can remember destination and arrival points (both on my computer and phone my Google Maps application remembers frequently used destination points). Google Transit does offer a lot of new features, not the least being an interactive mapping function, easier integration with phone use, showing nearby bus stops, and integration with driving directions. We will work on providing a tutorial to help those less familiar with the interface and options.

  17. 63101
    February 9, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    1) Good riddance to the old trip finder. It never worked properly, was terrible on a mobile phone, and favored bus transfers as far out to the origin/destination even when it was far easier and more timely to walk.

    2) It would be nice to have a mobile-enhanced version of the site, at least with routes and timetables. Google Transit will help you get from A to B but I can’t easily browse routes if I’m standing on a street somewhere trying to figure out where the bus is going to go.

    3) Why just change the front page, and then have every page linked off that be the same 5+ year old dated design?

    Now you present two different interfaces into the same content. Better to be internally consistent, even with an old design, rather than have people trying to work twice to find the same content.

  18. February 9, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    Put RideFinder back the way it was.

  19. February 9, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    This is the first phase of the website redesign. The second phase will have a completely new infrastructure. That is coming in the next couple of months. We do have a mobile site: http://www.metrostlouis.org/mobile that has a fare chart, rider alerts, info on customer service, and address of MetroLink stations. Right now our bus routes are in pdf form…when we can get them into html it will be easier to integrate into a mobile site.

  20. William
    February 9, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

    The new site is very polished and works well, but I have to say that even though I tend to use Google for most everything else, the Tripfinder was something that worked really well for me. I understand others had problems but I find taking the same transfer everyday at differend times is easiest. Now I can’t even find the transfer I used before while using the Google interface. Thanks all.

    Will

  21. matt
    February 9, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for switching to google transit. So much more intuitive and user friendly than the old system.

  22. Karen
    February 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    OMFG!!!! What on earth were you people smoking? Revamp the only feature that was useful to this what ever this website is. How much did these changes cost us the TAXPAYER and RIDERS, i.e. YOUR EMPLOYERS!! First you all try this emotional black mail and shut services off because taxpayers said no, then gradually let some of the services back because special funding comes from some magic governement (state or federal).

    Do you realize how really user unfriendly public transportation in St. Louis is? Every aspect is bad. First we have busses that don’t announce stops unless a person requests. Next we have the limited fares (other cities, you can buy an all day any direction pass) that have to be ‘stamped’ or a fine is assessed. (Duh if one is in possesion of a ticket, one has already paid the fair.)

    Then we have the issue of stolen state property–really don’t know why everyone just rolls over on this! There are 2 stations on the campus of UMSL. Part of the original agreement was for students to get free access to bus/link service in exchange for the buses coming on and through campus as well as the link stops. Tax breaks are given, property is not maintained (heavy busses do cause road damage) by Metro/bistate or whatever ya’ll calling yourselves today, but rather they are maintained by the university , again at the taxpayer’s expense.

    We have long known Bi-State/Metrolink to be corrupt…taking kickbacks n what not from lord knows where! (How much are you ‘paying’ google to farm out the service????)

    Let’s think back to the 80s when so called top secret documents were destroyed…office papers were picked up for destruction. While being loaded, an offical had to watch the truck/driver and then follow that truck back to the shredding site. That offical had to stay and watch while papers were shredded (we are talking giant industrial shredders, nothing that would fit in an office).

    Just what sort of documents would need to be shredded–personnell records might make sense, but considering these so called proprietary documents were placed in special containers (giant blue trashcan like bins with no lid). There would also not be nearly 1 ton (literally) of papers every month (sometimes 2ce a month). Also doesn’t make sense, escpecially when considering other documents handled at the facility were from sensitive places such as the federal or local governments, local universities, and banks. (And yes some of those did have special handling requirements on how the documents were mill baled or shredded and how shredded materials could be recycled or to whom it could be reclcyled to.

    For example, federal governement documents could be mill baled but not mixed with any other industrial paperwork. (Mill baling is sorting paper by type and then sending the bales of paper to the appropriate mill facility to wash it down and make new paper products.) Once baled, it had to be stored in a double sealed truck trailer. There’s more to it, but I think you get the point–why would Bi-state/Metro need such high security on thier shredded documents!?!? Seems like several years ago, there was some sort of scandal regarding the higher ups at this organization and how they were being personally funded…I can’t remember all the details, so won’t get into that.

    I guess the point I want to make is where is the accountability to your employers both the user and the taxpayer? How do we justify farming out services to google–who doesn’t contribute back to our community. The whole cycle of things–users and taxpayers support the system. In turn, the system puts money into the community–St. Louis metro area by employing people who also pay taxes.

    We need to get it right–you should really hear what people say about our transportation–they are laughing at us!! People from as close as Chicago or KC and as far as France.

    • February 11, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

      Karen,

      I will try to answer your questions the best that I can.

      1). Google Transit is a free service to all transit agencies that participate. We provide open source data to Google, and they generate the maintenance of the application. In addition to Google Transit, the maps and directions integrate well with other Google Apps, such as Google Maps and Google Maps for cell phones. We realize that some people are having a difficult time getting used to the service, and will be providing a tutorial shortly.

      2). We do provide a one-day pass, and you scratch off the month and day of use. Here is a list of where you can purchase them if you are interested.

      3). Here is the response from our CFO John Noce regarding the UMSL passes. I was not here when any right-of-way issues were being dealt with:

      “Metro is in compliance with all University of Missouri agreements. The State of Missouri repaired the UMSL South entryway, not Metro. There was a period in the 1990’s that the University paid Metro a lump sum in exchange for semester passes. The agreement included MetroBus, MetroLink and Metro Call-A-Ride and provided coverage between semesters.”

      John Noce
      CFO

      Basically, it is not Agency policy to barter free passes for access to service. As far as I remember from your last questions about UMSL passes, the University still participates in the U-Pass program, but it no longer subsidizes the cost for students.

      Part of Metro increasing their presence online is to be able to interact and listen to riders, to gather feedback and help educate. This is part of Metro’s ongoing effort to improve and provide great transit for St. Louis. But we also rank among the lowest of our peer cities in terms of per capita support, and we have to do more with less. But if you have specific suggestions for improving your rider experience, we do want to hear it. We know the transition to Google Transit from TripFinder will be a little bumpy, but we received a lot of feedback regarding its use and are confident that it will be an excellent service for Metro riders.

      Thanks,
      Courtney

  23. Allen Stout
    February 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm #

    I hate this so called “Trip Finder.” The past 3 times I tried it, it did not actually give me a route, but only showed me a map. I need to know which train to catch at which time. Where’s that information? Please put the old Trip Finder back!

    -Allen

    • February 11, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

      Allen,

      After you enter in the information, on the left-hand side, there will be a series of suggested routes. Click on one, scroll down, and there should be a list of directions you need, with times, bus routes, nearby stops, walking times, etc. If you click on “+” sign on the walking directions, it will point you to a map of where to walk and how long it should take you.

      Courtney

  24. Martine
    February 13, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    I know you are trying to improve the new look of the website, but it is not working well for the people which depend on it. This is the second time the site has caused more confusion than help. I am not able to check the bus schedule. Also when I referred to the plan your trip area, the suggestion, via google, was for me to walk a half mile to the metrolink station than take the bus I need that stops right in front of my house. I fear something is not right with that conclusion.

    • February 15, 2010 at 10:54 am #

      Martine,

      I am curious about checking bus schedules. They should be in the same format as the older site. If you click on the icon labeled “MetroBus” on the right-hand side of the site, it should take you directly to MetroBus schedules and route information. Google Transit does work on the algorithm that encourages the least amount of time, including walking. If you email me your ride information, I might be able to troubleshoot what the problem is: blog@nextstopstl.org.

      Thanks,
      Courtney

  25. Benson
    February 14, 2010 at 1:48 am #

    I usually don’t ride the metrolink, and I am reminded why tonight.

    First, the times were not very trusting since I waited for over 40 minutes on February 13 for a west bound train going to Shrewsberry. I was at the Central West end station. I used the help phone after 20 minutes asking when the next train was coming. The receptionist was very rude and not very helpful saying verbatim: “it’ll be there in a few minutes.” After another 15 minute wait I decided to leave and ended up getting a friend to pick me up. I understand it was Mardis Gras but that’s no excuse for the poor service and I don’t think the metrolink planned for the event very well.

    Until there is better management

    I URGE EVERYONE TO FIND ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION IF POSSIBLE

    because this really was terrible. It was also really cold tonight. I had a student pass so it would have been free but I didn’t think it was worth the wait. I’ll probably end up sick tomorrow. Thanks metrolink!

    Oh yeah, no security at all at the station either.

  26. kim
    February 22, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    You guys ruined Tripfinder it was the only reason I came on this site and now it is awful fix it soon.

    • February 22, 2010 at 10:54 am #

      It’s very helpful to us if you explain why you find it awful, Kim. Specific comments helps us address specific concerns.

  27. RTBones
    February 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    Woo-hoo! Comments on this thread fixed! :)

    I would write a response, but I have already given a lengthy one under the Google Transit tutorial post. Link is below:

    http://www.nextstopstl.org/1923/watch-st-louis-beacon-techs-video-tutorial-for-google-transit/#comments

  28. JamesH
    February 23, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    Google Transit sucks. Trip Finder had its problems, many of them inexplicable, like getting different results for the same search. But this thing is really awful. It’s hard to navigate, hard to understand and it seems unable to give even the most simple information. The only thing that’s an improvement is the ariel photo. I aks for routing information from two known locations that would have presented no problem to TripFinder, but this things asks me if I really mean…. and then gives me a list of everything but when I meant! I never really like Google maps anyway. Try something else, please.

  29. Jackie
    February 25, 2010 at 6:32 am #

    The new site is better. BUT it would be helpful if you let customers know in print if the bus will be traveling east or west bound when there are stops directly across from each other and the customer wants to go east. Who would have thought you’d catch a west bound bus!!!! For a visually impared person this was next to impossible in a low traffic area with no assistance.

  30. LadyMonk
    March 1, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    Today is my first day seeing and using the new site. I like the look but the functionality is lacking. What’s missing in the Google app? The “Earlier,Now,Later” function and “Include/Exclude Route” options. These were very helpful when planning my travels. It was also more visually pleasing to read the TripFinder directions. I have always loved the ability to zoom in to an address with Google. Great addition for Metro. I guess it’s all about letting go of what we’re used to and adapting to change. Good luck

  31. M C Brown
    March 2, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    I really miss being able to use Trip Finder. I loved the old functionality but now it is virtually worthless.

  32. Nancy
    March 8, 2010 at 12:40 am #

    I agree. Tripfinder was so much easier to work with to find connecting routes. The new one is very strange to work with.

    Also the MetroBus link for printing out the bus schedules has not worked for weeks. Please fix this so we can print out the individual bus lines.

    I think overall Metro is doing a great job in revamping their public transportation system. Keep up the “progressive” work.

    Thanks for the many nice and courteous bus drivers we have to help us get around the city and county who wait for the connecting metrolinks and honk for the connecting buses (bless them) — please help the mean ones who won’t.

    • March 8, 2010 at 9:20 am #

      Nancy, which link are you referring to? I tried both the MetroBus icon and the “MetroBus” choice under the “Maps, Schedules and Info” pulldown menu and both lead to MetroBus printable pdf schedules. Let me know which link you are referring to so we can fix it.

  33. Jimmy Z
    March 11, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    I found the new “Careers” link to be non-intuitive. I first loked under “Inside Metro” (where it used to be), then at the bottom of the new page (where most other sites locate it). I finally found it tiny and on the upper-right corner. I guess it’s nice there graphically, and I’ll know that it’s there now, but I’d also sugest adding it to the pull-down menu under “Inside Metro” – redundancy never hurts . . .

    • March 11, 2010 at 10:20 am #

      Thanks Jimmy. We’re working on a redesign to the site’s infrastructure, so we’ll keep that in mind.

    • March 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

      Jimmy,

      The entire menu system will change as the rest of the website goes through a period of redesign. It is planned that the Careers link will be part of a dropdown menu. But for now, yes, it will only reside in the upper right corner. Unfortunately, there is no standard for the placement of a careers link on a webpage. When you look at other transit agency websites, many do not even have a one-click link directly to the careers section. We felt it was necessary that this infomation be just one-click away. In the next iteration of the home page, the size of that link will be increased, so it should be more visible. Thank you for the feedback!

  34. Jimmy Z
    March 12, 2010 at 12:53 am #

    I wasn’t referring to other transit sites, but to commercial sites like Target, Vandalia Bus Lines, Amtrak or Greyhound . . . .

    And Denver’s RTD, Chicago’s CTA, LA’s Metro and Washington’s Metro all have a careers link at or near the bottoms of their home pages . . .

  35. Jan
    March 14, 2010 at 6:56 am #

    I like the look of the new website but not the function. As many have already stated, Tripfinder was best and I never had a problem when using it. Trying to access trip information now is a pain so I’ve taken to calling for help, even if I have to wait in a calling queue. It doesn’t help on weekends when Metro’s offices are closed so it’s not the best solution. As for Google, I’ve never found anything great about it as a search engine and have gotten a lot of bad information through it over the years. I like it even less on this website. It’s very confusing (possibly incorrect) and some of it is overkill. Keep things simple and we’ll all get on with our trips in less time and with less hassle.

  36. Amanda
    March 15, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

    I prefer TripFinder to anything regarding Google maps. Tripfinder was nice because it gave me multiple options for my trip, not just the times, but I could also choose between traveling just by train, or just by bus and walking, etc. It also recognized St. Louis locations better than Google does.

  37. Amanda
    March 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Just one more thing, thank you for giving us the option to use TripFinder under the Google Trip Planner. That helps me so much.

    • March 15, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

      Well, as you can see, we got a lot of feedback. (;

  38. April 6, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    I had to use metro transit today. In looking on the trip planner, it left out the most obvious route for me to take to get to my destination. I just took a chance. It didn’t recommend the Kingshighway Bus at all from the #4. Why doesn’t it give all options?

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