Metro Transit (St. Louis)

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Bi-State Development Agency
d/b/a Metro Transit
St Louis MetroLink Logo.svg
MetroLink train departing from the Sunnen station.
Locale St. Louis Metropolitan Area
Transit type Light rail
Express bus service
Number of lines 2 Light rail lines
75 bus routes
Number of stations 37 (Light rail)
9000 (Bus stops)
14 (Transit centers)
34 (Park and ride lots)
Daily ridership 140,000 (2015)[1]
Annual ridership 45,212,700 (2015)[1]
Chief executive John Nations (October 2010 - Present)
Headquarters 707 North 1st Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63102
Began operation September 20, 1949 (September 20, 1949)
Reporting marks BSDA
Number of vehicles 31 Siemens SD-400s
56 Siemens SD-460s
390 Gillig Buses
120 Paratransit Vans

The Bi-State Development Agency is an interstate compact formed by Missouri and Illinois in 1949. Since February 2003 the agency has been doing business as Metro.[2] It operates with a budget of $160 million[citation needed], which is funded by sales taxes from the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, the St. Clair County Illinois Transit District, federal and state grants and subsidies, and through fare paying passengers.[3]


Metro owns and operates the St. Louis Metropolitan region's public transportation system, which includes MetroLink, the region's light rail system; MetroBus, the region's bus system; with Metro Call-A-Ride and Metro Call-A-Ride Plus, the paratransit minibus system. In addition, Metro also owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport (formerly Parks) and the adjoining industrial business park, paddlewheel-style river excursion boats, and the tram system leading to the top of the Gateway Arch. Metro has more than 2,400 employees and carries over 55 million passengers each year.


The agency was created on September 20, 1949 through a compact between Missouri and Illinois and ratified by the United States Congress. Metro's broad powers enable it to cross local, county, and state boundaries to plan, construct, maintain, own, and operate specific facilities in its effort to enhance the quality of life in the region. Its service area encompasses 200 municipalities. The agency continued to operate streetcars from the St. Louis Public Service Company in St. Louis until May 1966 with the discontinuation of the Hodiamont line.[4] First public support of transit came to the region in 1974. Buses continued to dominate Metro's fleet until a feasibility study in the late 1980s suggested the construction of a light rail line from Lambert St. Louis International Airport to 5th and Missouri in East St. Louis via an abandoned segment of railway; that included abandoned tunnels under downtown St. Louis and the then disused Eads Bridge lower deck railway.


Metro is governed by a 10-member board that is responsible for the overall leadership and policy direction for the Agency. The board has five members from Missouri and five members from Illinois. The Missouri Board members are appointed by the Governor of Missouri. In Illinois, the Chairman of the Board for both St. Clair and Madison Counties appoint their representatives. Members of the Board serve their five-year terms without compensation and must be a resident voter of their state, as well as reside within the bi-state metropolitan region.

Missouri commissioners[edit]

  • Kevin Cahill - Secretary
  • Constance Gully
  • Lewis L. McKinney Jr.
  • Hugh Scott III
  • Vincent C. Schoemehl - Chairman

Illinois commissioners[edit]

  • Jeffrey K. Watson
  • Fonzy Coleman
  • David A. Dietzel - Treasurer
  • Tadas (Tad) Kicielinski
  • Michael Buehlhorn


Historical Sales Tax Ballot Initiatives
Date County Sales Tax Result
November 1993 St. Clair 0.5% Passed
August 1994 City of St. Louis 0.25% Passed
August 1994 St. Louis 0.25% Passed
August 1996 St. Charles 0.5% Failed
November 1996 St. Charles 0.5% Failed
November 1997 City of St. Louis 0.25% Passed[5]
November 1997 St. Louis 0.25% Failed
November 1997 Madison 0.5% Failed
November 2008 St. Louis 0.5% Failed
April 2010 St. Louis 0.5% Passed

Collectively, St. Louis County and St. Louis City (St. Louis City is an independent city not associated with St. Louis County) contribute 1% in sales tax to Metro, while St. Clair County in Illinois contributes 3/4% in sales tax to Metro.


The current fares (as of July 1, 2014) are as follows (kids under 5, accompanied by fare-paying rider, are exempt, limit 3):[6]

MetroBus Fare MetroBus Fare
with Multi-Use transfer
1-Ride Ticket
Metro Two-Hour Pass Metro Two-Hour Pass
from Lambert Airport
Metro One-Day Pass Metro Weekly Pass Metro Monthly Pass Metro 10 Ride Student Tickets
with Multi Use Transfer
Adults $2 $3 $2.50 $3 $4 $7.50 $27 $78 $19
Children (ages 5–12)
& Disabled
$1 $1.50 $1.25 $1.50 $2 $39

Transit services[edit]


MetroBus operates 75 bus routes throughout Greater St. Louis with 7 transit centers since April 1, 1963. 60 normal bus routes and 14 express Bus routes operated on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River. On the Illinois side of the river Metro operated 13 normal bus routes and 4 express bus routes. MetroBus routes are the descendants of streetcar routes. Bus services on the Illinois side of the river are supplemented by Madison County Transit.

Service changes: on March 30, 2009, twenty-four Missouri MetroBus routes were eliminated. Other routes were modified and/or will offer less frequent service in Missouri.[7] In Illinois, there were no service cuts for buses because the state funding is greater than Missouri. In late 2009, they restored some temporary routes until May 3, 2010. As of August 30, 2010, restoration of service was completed and teaks took effect starting November 29, 2010.


MetroLink is the light rail transit system in the Greater St. Louis area of Missouri and Illinois that opened on July 31, 1993. The system currently consists of two lines, Red Line and Blue Line which runs through Downtown St. Louis with 73.3 kilometers (46 miles) of track. The system features 37 stations and carries an average of 67,684 people each weekday (FY 2007).[8] Unlike most light rail systems in the United States, this system runs closely similar to a heavy rail system.

Metro Call-A-Ride[edit]

Metro Call-A-Ride is a curb-to-curb paratransit service that is operated by Metro. It consists of 120 paratransit buses that does not run on normal routes. This service provides over 55,000 trips each month to customers with disabilities in Missouri. This program guarantees mobility for disabled citizens in St. Louis City and County who are unable to drive and cannot use MetroBus or MetroLink. Call-A-Ride provides service within 1/4 of a mile from a bus stop.


Security for the Metro System is provided by uniformed police officers along with uniformed security officers. A comprehensive security system is in place that includes well-lit stations and cars, closed-circuit television monitoring, emergency telephones, continuous police patrol of rail cars and stations, security personnel at park-ride lots, and constant radio communication between vehicle operators and MetroBus and MetroLink Central Control.


"Moving Transit Forward" is a long-range planning process that will create a thirty-year transit plan for the St. Louis region.[9] The Moving Transit Forward is made up of group of people who bring a broad range of transit experience and perspectives to the planning process. It is headed by Metro's CEO John Nations, COO Ray Friem, Senior Vice President of Engineering & New Systems Development Christopher C. Poehler, and Chief of Planning & System Development Jessica Mefford-Miller. This plan will consist of focusing on service expansion and create jobs for its citizens. It will consists on planning potential MetroLink expansion, considering flex transit, enhance express bus services, developing express bus corridors into bus rapid transit (BRT) lines, and creating high speed commuter rail lines. Metro is working with Madison County Transit and St. Clair County Transit District in Illinois about this plan. Metro is also educating the public about how the system is funded.

MetroLink Expansion[edit]

Light rail has been the most favorable transportation in the Greater St. Louis region. According to Metro, there are over 80 miles of corridors being studied for analysis: Daniel Boone Corridor, MetroNorth Corridor, MetroSouth Corridor, NorthSide Corridor, SouthSide Corridor, NorthWest Connector, and MidAmerica Extension. Some are considered potential future corridors; St. Charles Corridor, SouthWest Corridor, and two Madison County Corridors.

Bus rapid transit[edit]

Bus rapid transit has been also a favorable option for St. Louis. Metro will consider bus rapid transit to be highway based on I-64, I-44, I-55, I-70, or major arterials such as Grand Boulevard, North County, and Kingshighway Blvd. A NABI BRT bus was tested for nine days between late October and late November 2008.[10]

Commuter rail[edit]

According to studies, the routes may run from Downtown St. Louis to Alton, Illinois, Festus, and Pacific, Missouri. There are 80 miles of routes being considered. Commuter rail lines were in Metro's plans in 1994 when voters approved a one-fourth cent transit sale tax, but officials dropped them later because the cost was not worth the benefit and the fare would be expensive.


The Delmar Loop Trolley is a 2.2 mile trolley line that will connect from the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park to the Delmar Loop. The line will have up to 9 stations. A final report for the Loop Trolley Study was completed in January 2010.

Urban bus[edit]

Some MetroBus routes are being analysed with the thirty-year plan. It may require a new fleet of metro buses. In late September 2008, an Alexander Dennis Enviro500 bus was tested for nine days.[11]

Flex routes[edit]

There are plans to include flex transit. Flex transit runs on mixed routes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2015" (pdf). American Public Transportation Association. March 2, 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-19 – via 
  2. ^ "Bi-State Development Agency Adopts "Metro" As New Name" (PDF) (Press release). Metro. 2003-01-24. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 27, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  3. ^ Agency Overview Archived September 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^
  5. ^ The 1997 Proposition M in St. Louis City was dependent on the passage of a similar proposition in St. Louis County. Consequently, the sales tax was not collected until St. Louis County passed Proposition A in 2010.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Moving Transit Forward Draft". Moving Transit Forward. Archived from the original on 2 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  9. ^ "BRT Preview in St. Louis". STL Today. Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  10. ^ "Double-Decker Test in St. Louis". STL Today. Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 

External links[edit]