August 30th Restoration Schedules and Route Maps Now Available

Bus service via the #73 Carondelet will return to Cherokee Street in Benton Park West on August 30

June 28 was only the first phase of our 2010 service restoration.  Phase II begins on August 30, with many significant changes for MetroBus service.  These changes include a number of new routes, route changes, increases in frequency to existing routes, connectivity adjustments, different bus sizes and other strategies.

Click here for a complete listing of all the route and timetable information for the August 30 service change.

Restoration 2010 changes do not exactly replace the Metro system that was in place before March 2009.  We conducted hundreds of public meetings and gathered a lot of feedback about the region’s needs.  So while the service changes do seek to return the level of service from March 2009, they also reflect the need to grow ridership, attract new markets, and leave room for growth in a cost-effective manner.

Restoration 2010 implements several innovative strategies to enhance service using available financial resources. These service strategies are not stand-alone improvements; they work together, often on the same bus route, to maximize productivity and cost effectiveness throughout the system.

Route splitting

Many MetroBus routes cover a large service area, especially on major corridors. However, ridership demand often varies greatly within any particular service area. In an attempt to better match frequencies, and ultimately vehicle sizes to levels of ridership demand, and to maintain on-time performance on what are very long routes today, Metro will split several routes where there is a clear difference in travel needs and ridership levels. These splits will happen at MetroLink Stations and Transit Centers in order to ensure quick transfers and enhance the overall connectivity of the System.

Connectivity

Ideally, the necessity for transfers should be limited. However, our customers should also be able to access any part of the service area from any other. Many of the route changes that will be implemented on August 30th will further integrate the Metro System by adding geographic connections and improving time connections between bus routes and at Transit Centers. Maintaining on-time performance and enforcing connectivity at transit centers is critical for ensuring the success of this strategy.

Right-sizing

The MetroBus fleet currently consists of 30’, 35’ and 40’ buses. However, at certain times of day and in areas with lower transit ridership, larger buses often have excess capacity. As Metro moves forward with regularly-scheduled fleet replacement Metro staff is exploring options to begin purchasing smaller buses and vans for use on lower-demand routes, and larger, articulated buses for the busiest routes. Smaller vehicles with lower fuel costs making shorter trips will generate significant cost savings. Larger buses will allow the Agency to respond to growing passenger volumes without adding as much service as would be required using 40’ buses.

Rationalization

Service restoration seeks to minimize long or confusing, special detours, and duplication of service. Many routes have been streamlined, and more trips later in the day have been added throughout the System for 2nd- and 3rd-shift workers.

This is not the end of Restoration 2010 and transit in St. Louis post-Proposition A: it is the beginning.  We want your feedback.  Please leave your comments below, or email restoration2010@metrostlouis.org.

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37 Responses to “August 30th Restoration Schedules and Route Maps Now Available”

  1. July 27, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    Thank you for getting the word out on the new service. There seem to be some tremendous improvements here, and while not everyone will be happy, I, as a Metro patron, am ecstatic. Let’s hope people find Metro and take advantage of the new services.

  2. July 27, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    I’m sure you’re not surprised how ecstatic I am about Metro expanding and beefing up service, I am however a bit concerned about the lack of useful signage found at Metro Stations and Shelters.

    As a regular Metro rider, I found it rather difficult to find out where to catch buses after the first phase of the restoration.

    As Metro seeks to build ridership, it is absolutely imperative that Metro enhance signs, there is absolutely no reason why every single bus shelter display which buses it serves.

    In this world the service needs to come to the consumer, not the other way around. The number one reason, members of the St. Louis community are not riding Metro is because they cannot figure it out. Heck I’ve been a daily rider for three years now and this is something I still struggle with.

    • July 27, 2010 at 11:59 am #

      Justin, and Mark too, thanks for your feedback regarding communication to our customers. It’s definitely a problem that we have talked about, and are working on, and will have to continue to improve. I know its a major frustration. Thanks for the reminder that we have a lot of work to do. :)

  3. RTBones
    July 27, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    Courtney – thank you for posting these. After a quick look at the revised 45/44-45, it seems like it will work on paper…and allow the route to run later (which has always been tough for me as I work odd hours sometimes).

    Any word on when these changes will be uploaded to Google Transit?

    • July 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

      Probably be available about three weeks from now. I’ll alert everyone when you can test out the changes via Google Transit.

  4. RTBones
    July 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    Justin – you can ask Courtney. I regularly raise the issue about signs and maps at bus stops and shelters. :) Nice to hear someone else asking for the same thing.

    I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, without a ton of prior planning or the Internet on your phone/mobile device, taking the bus in St. Louis is a pain. Schedules and maps at bus stops would help that immensely.

  5. PeterXCV
    July 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    would it be at all possible to have morning northbound service every 30 minutes instead of every hour on the new #8 Bates Morganford route? Right now the #59 Shaw provides service to the Civic Center Metrolink Station every 30 minutes where I live on Russell, if the new schedule stays in place I and the other people I get on with will not have restored or upgraded service but reduced service, a service cut. Is it possible to retain the level of service? With smaller buses maybe?

  6. July 27, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Not to sound ungrateful or anything for all the amazing work you’ve done Court but what good are more buses if no one can find out about them?

    What about utilizing social media outlets like Foursquare? Metro did some impressive things in this area during the campaign for Prop A. Not to say that it would be the only way to reach riders, rather another way.

  7. Cheryl
    July 27, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    Thanks for getting the changes on Google Transit as soon as possible. I like to check out Google transit and see if the optimized Metro routes to some of my regular destinations have changed. I can see I will be taking different routes to several of my destinations.

  8. Mike
    July 27, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    Most of my comments have involved the critiquing of Metro’s plans for restoration. After reading today’s article and reviewing many of the upcoming route changes scheduled for August 30th, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. The expansion was little more than I had anticipated. It looks like a step in the right direction.

    If I may offer a suggestion, in reviewing the schedules for the #47 and #75 routes, they virtually run parallel to each other between the Hanley Road Station, and the area of I-270 and North Hanley/Graham Rd. exit. It would seem more feasable to combine the two routes and allow the #75 route to supplement bus service on the #47 route between the N. Hanley Station and the intersection of North Hanley and I-270. Or maybe the #75 route can branch off Hanley Rd. at Dunn Rd and pick up it’s current routing at New Florissant Rd.

    The change would: 1). enable the #75 to service bus stops along Hanley Rd. (no stops are served on the interstates), 2). take extra bus traffic off of the already congested I-170 and I-270 portion of that route, and 3). increase service frequency along Hanley Rd, particularily between Airport Rd. and I-270.

    From my experience in traveling through that area during rush hour, the #75 buses would probably make better time by traveling Hanley Rd. instead of being stuck in heavy traffic on the interstates as I often have observed.

  9. July 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    I’m interested Justin – how would you use Foursquare for buses? Would you do it by major stops, routes…? I’m not really familiar with how Foursquare works, outside of being the Mayor of such-and-such.

    • July 27, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

      Justin,

      I have contacted Foursquare about a Metro badges, but no luck yet. It is a good idea though. Perhaps we can give prizes to the “Mayors” of certain routes, especially the new routes we need to draw attention and ridership to.

  10. Mike
    July 27, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

    Courtney,

    Following up to my previous suggestion: allowing the #75 to serve N. Hanley Rd. could provide a viable connection between that corridor and locations along the I-270/Dunn Rd. corridor. Also, the #75 could began its run from the N. Hanley Sta. via I-70 and I-170, then exit Airport Rd. traveling one block east to N. Hanley Rd., to begin its run on Hanley Rd.

  11. Jimmy Z
    July 27, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    As for “right-sizing” the fleet, there are multiple variables involved, outside of purchase price and fuel costs. If I remember my wonk stuff correctly, standard 30′-40′ coaches are assumed to have a 14 year useful life, while cut-away (van-based) buses are assumed to have only a 5 year useful life. Operator costs are fairly consistent between vehicle sizes, since they’re paid hourly, not on a per-passenger basis. Which gets down to route productivity versus the opportunity cost of putting any service out, hoping to generate ridership. Finally, there’s always a tradeoff between increasing capacity (articulated buses) and reducing frequency, and it’s not linear – if you’re attracting 100 riders per hour by providing 15-minute frequencies with 30′ vehicles, you won’t attract 100 riders by providing 30-minute frequencies with 60′ artics; more likely you’ll see it drop to 90, or even 80, riders per hour.

    I realize that any property faces a PR challenge when buses are (nearly) empty, but that’s a reality in the business. The extremes of any route will tend to be empty, with the vehicle filling toward the center, plus there are deadhead runs, at the atart and end of every day.

    Personally, I’m a big believer in demand-responsive service replacing fixed routes in low-demand, primarily suburban, areas. I’ve also seen artics work well on high-demand routes, but I’m not sure if St. Louis has any that are really at that level (yet). If the choice comes down to larger vehicles or more “regular” vehicles combined with more frequency, I’ll almost always come down on the side of more frequency. Besides being more expensive initially, artics require more driver training, more maintenance and tend to irritate other drivers more, plus reducing commonality among vehicles complicates maintenance.

    Finally, I’d like to see Metro explore more hybrid and alternative fuel options. Diesel-electric, CNG-electric, diesel-hydraulic and CNG-hydraulic hybrid options are all currently available, and their life-cycle costs are starting to get extremely competetive. Bottom line, it really is the bottom line. Life-cycle cost is more important than purchase price. Route productivity needs to be monitored constantly and dissected with a fine-toothed comb. Fuel costs will only get higher. And the cliche that needs to be repeated is to be on the leading edge of technology, not the bleeding edge . . .

    • July 28, 2010 at 9:25 am #

      Thanks for all the comments. Jimmy, regarding hybrid and alternative fuel options. It’s definitely something that Metro looks at on a regular basis. Right now, the preventative maintenance program used by the garages keeps the ultra-low sulfur diesel buses getting such good gas mileage they are similar to hybrid fuel economy. Right now, its more cost-effective from both the life cycle and purchase price to go that route. However, we are exploring both CNG and hybrid buses. It’ll be an ongoing discussion.

  12. Jimmy Z
    July 27, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

    Your remarks on connectivity and route splitting touch on two of my pet peeves about Metro, paying to transfer and unnecessary complexity in both the fare structure and some routes. At its core, Metro is (supposed to be) a transit SYSTEM. While some riders will favor one vehicle over another, the real mission is to get that rider from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Given the increasing sprawl that typififies the St. Louis region (like nearly every other region), hub and spoke, with downtown as the hub, is becoming more and more of an anachronism. I know it’ll mean abandoning some of the old streetcar alignments, plus dealing with the complaints from the vocal traditionalists, but it really is time to go to more of a grid system, to effectively serve the needs of more potential riders.

    I get it, free transfers tend to be abused. But at what real cost? We’re willing to live with a certain amount of fare evasion on light rail; why can’t we learn to live with a similar level on buses? I also get it, people will pay a little more to ride a train than a bus, and tourists coming into Lambert don’t really have a choice. Still, to have a truly integrated system, fares should be consistent across all modes and transfers between modes need to be free, as well. Metro will NEVER be able to provide single-seat trips to every rider, so why should those customers who have to transfer (because Metro doesn’t/can’t offer a direct trip) be penalized, simply based on an accident of geography?!

    Finally, Murphy’s Law rules when it comes to route splitting. Odds are good that whatever leg comes my way will be less convenient than if the times were switched with the other leg.

  13. RTBones
    July 28, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    Jimmy Z actually hits on a point I have wondered about for a while. I know I am not the only person to buy a ticket for the train, transfer to the bus, and find out I had the wrong kind of ticket – a frustrating endeavor. I know there is money made from the transfers, so instead of charging for them – since Metro does not use a Zone system for calculating fares – why not make a ride $2.50 and let riders transfer wherever they want?

    • July 28, 2010 at 11:33 am #

      Everyone has given some really great feedback. I’ve passed along comments to Planning, and they plan to respond, though it might take a little time. Obviously, very busy time right now. Thanks for your thoughts!

  14. Mike
    July 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    Courtney,

    I read a while ago the possibility of Metro installing safety barriers between Metrolink railcars, to prevent the possibility of someone on station platforms from falling through the gaps between these cars. What’s the skinny on that?

    • August 2, 2010 at 10:32 am #

      It’s a long-term project, but currently no news to report.

  15. Jimmy Z
    July 28, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    Good article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-07-26-1Agridlock26_CV_N.htm

  16. Jimmy Z
    July 28, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    marketing that might help: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=6663

  17. Mike
    July 29, 2010 at 1:23 am #

    I have a comment on right-sizing.

    I’ve ridden in van-based buses; it’s just like riding in a car-maybe worse.

    The rides are bumpy and I felt cramped up in them. Forget about reading a newspaper riding in these types of vehicles. With only one door, discharging and boarding simutaneously is impossible, which can lengthen the dwelling time at the stops where passengers are both discharging and boarding, when compared to larger buses in which passengers can use two doors simutaneously. Also, safety could possibly be compromised if an emergency arises on these smaller buses.

    In addition, as Jimmy Z mentioned, the van-based buses may not necessarily prove to be as cost effective in the long run just because they are smaller, when compared to the larger buses.

    In summary, using van-based buses on “fixed bus routes” would appear “too rural” for our region. In order to regain lost ridership and generate new ones, buses which are appealing, easy to use, and provide a smooth, comfortable ride should be used.

  18. RTBones
    July 29, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    To follow up Mike’s comment about van-based buses….

    On right-sizing and van-sized buses on fixed bus routes: please don’t. Mike has already mentioned how it lends a “rural” feel to our system. There is also the perception that vehicles of this size are for a special purpose (call-a-ride, event specials, handicapped transit, etc) and not part of the “real” system. Believe it or not, the vehicles used actually DO influence the public’s opinion of whether or not to take transit (of those that can choose to take it or not, anyway). It gives the bus system a “cheap” feel. As a guy that travels a lot for work, I can tell you that the van-sized buses the airport parking lots use are horrid for ride quality. They do the job for the short trips they are used for, but I would not want to take one on a trip of any distance. While I am sure there may be a cost savings from a fuel perspective on some routes, they get ridden because they are a necessary evil. I would not want to bounce around in one of them as part of any lengthy daily ride.

  19. RTBones
    July 29, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    Since we are talking about connectivity and route restoration, I thought I would offer some observations of a very recent trip on Metro I took,

    The route I took was Metrolink from Forest Park to Civic Center. I then transferred from Metrolink to the #40, which I took to 12th and Russell. The following are some observations from the trip.

    1) At Forest Park – I noticed, on the shelters going both ways, someone has taped (as in, Scotch tape) a schedule of some sort to shelter. I did not examine the schedule closely, but I did not see a Metro logo of any sort. Given that I noticed the schedules were posted on BOTH sides of the street in similar fashion, my thought was that they might be “official” in some manner.

    If they ARE from Metro, my comment is: really? This is the BEST you can do? A taped schedule to the inside of the shelter that could have been posted by, well, anybody, with no markings as to where it came from? THIS is how you communicate? No indication as to what they were, other than times. No indication that these schedules came from Metro that I saw. If they ARE official, what was Metro’s thought process here? The postings themselves were on plain white 8.5 x 11 paper and gave me the feeling they were posted by an amateur, not a professional transit company.

    If they ARE NOT from Metro, and are posted by someone else, then Metro needs to know that others are posting schedules (real or not). That might not happen if Metro posted schedules and routes of its own….

    2) Civic Center Station – I noticed a security guard on the entrance to the platform. There was another person who looked like he was employed by Metro near the ticket machines (I don’t know if he was on duty or not, I couldn’t tell). There was no security I saw up by the bus shelters I needed. I have occasionally seen Metro employees up on the bus loop, but have not ever seen them near the shelters.

    3) Civic Center Station, part II – I overheard at least two conversations of people on the telephone to somebody (Metro, I presume) trying to figure out where their bus stopped and what time it got there. Another plug for decent signage and maps.

    4) Civic Center Station, part III – on the walk up the stairs to the bus shelters, I noticed a large, portable, folding sign that indicated ‘restored route’ buses from the first round of restoration should board at the shelters on 14th. The sign was slightly dilapidated.

    5) Civic Center Station, part IV – not being a regular rider of the #40, I first looked towards the bus loop to figure out where it stopped. I did notice the large metal sign attached to a light pole that said “board these buses here” at the shelter near the bus loop.

    This begs the question – if you are not going to use the bus loop, why have it at all? I am sure there are buses that go through it. While I stood there, I saw one bus actually use the loop. I saw three use the shelter on 14th. Given that there were a number of people waiting at the shelter, I would have thought that the bus loop would be a better place to have the buses stop. The shelters were full, and many folks were just milling around as they waited.

    6) Bus shelter on 14th – on the side of the shelter, there was another sign taped. This time, it was very apparent that this was officially from Metro, and the sign was much larger. It was also worn, and torn.

    7) Waiting at the bus shelter – here, we have my biggest pet peeve with Metro. I am a white guy. I was dressed in decent shoes (not trainers/sneakers), nice jeans, and a polo. There were approximately 20-30 folks waiting for various buses at the shelter. Within about 30 seconds of getting to the shelter (and here, I have to shout), I WAS IMMEDIATELY SET UPON AND ASKED, “HEY BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE TWO BUCKS FOR BUS FARE? I’M TRYING TO GET HOME.” I can not communicate to you strongly enough how much I hate this. This happens to me ALL. THE. TIME. It happens to the point where I sometimes AVOID taking Metro because of it – and I have a monthly pass!

    I know I carry on about signage. But please, if you do nothing else, FIX. THIS. PROBLEM. If you want people who can choose to ride or not to take Metro, this HAS to end.

    8) The ride – finally, I’ll end my discussion on a positive note. The driver on the #40 was courteous and friendly. I noticed this because I was still steamed from being asked for money for bus fare. The driver’s positive attitude and courtesy towards passengers (others as well as me) put me back in a good mood. I don’t know his name, but if you could, please pass along my thanks – he may have only said a half dozen words or so to me, but it made all the difference in my mindset. For reference, it was Tuesday night.

    • July 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

      Thanks for all your comments RT. It’s a continual process of making things better for you all. I will pass along the good word regarding your Tuesday operator. Do you remember what time you caught it?

  20. RTBones
    July 29, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    Courtney – I caught the 8:30pm #40 on Tuesday evening, going towards Vets Hospital via Kinswood.

  21. Patrick Richmond
    July 29, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    What about Gravois between Laclede Station Road and Rock Hill, is that going to be without service for good or when will they get service on Gravois between those two places?

  22. Patrick Richmond
    July 29, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    I noticed that when it comes to hiring, I have been seeing mainly young people getting hired. Don’t you think that age discrimination is illegal? Or is it the U.S. Government using sensorship? We need to pass the word for hiring to the senior centers and have them pass the word to the residents so that older people that are in their 50s and older can work for Metro as well as young workers. However, there is a bill out on the table that is supposed to make it even harder for employers to age discriminate. That’s H.R. 3721. This bill is in committie now. If it passes in the house and senate and Obama signs it into law, this will be at our tax payers expense. If you feel this is a good use of public money, that’s great. If you feel that the bill is a waste of public money, dial 1-800-846-KTVI. Tell the “You Paid for it” team what you think. Because after all, YOU PAID FOR IT!

  23. Mike
    August 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    Courtney,

    Last week (7/28/10) I inquired about an article I read about Metro installing safety barriers between MetroLink railcars. Did you ever get any info on that?

    Also, are all comments posted by viewers passed along to Planning?

    • August 3, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

      Mike,

      I replied to you on Monday that it’s an ongoing project and in the planning stages, but there’s no news to report at this time. I will report on interesting milestones in the project as it happens. Planning does receive relevant comments (either through email or verbally) and are encouraged to keep up with overall blog feedback.

  24. Mike
    August 3, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    Courtney,

    I thought you were replying to Patrick Richmond’s inquiry. I had no way of knowing that your reply on Monday was actually intended for me, since several comments have been posted after mine was posted last Wednesday. I apologize for the mix-up.

  25. August 3, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    Patrick,

    As of right now, there aren’t plans to have service on Gravois between Laclede Station and Rock Road, but will be looked at in the future as more resources become available.

    • August 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

      Mike,

      Yep! I did mean Rock Hill, not Rock Road.

  26. Mike
    August 3, 2010 at 7:04 pm #

    Courtney,

    I think you meant Rock Hill in your last comment.

  27. robert
    August 4, 2010 at 9:32 am #

    You call this restoration? I call it service cuts or at the very least the same amount of service as prior to June 28th

    Splitting Chippewa in two is just a bad idea. Is this metro’s plan to make service to Crestwood as inconvenient as possible

    This new route runs every 40 minutes which is a cut from every 20 minutes even before June 28th it was every 30 minutes

    Why was the service on macklind cut i had planned on using the bates bus regularly but now that will not work

    • August 4, 2010 at 9:40 am #

      Thanks for your feedback Robert. I’ll send your comment to our planning department and have someone address your concerns directly. Thanks!

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