NewsThe NorthSider

Metro throws 450 stops under the bus

ST. LOUIS – For many who use Metro transit in the city, the fear of their rides’ being canceled is real. Well, at least for their nearby bus stop. Metro will be relocating or removing 450 bus stops in the St. Louis area starting Monday, July 15th.

“The 450 number is the result of the fact that we’ve been able to actually do a comprehensive audit of all the stops in our whole system,” said Jessica Gershwin, Metro’s director of long-range planning. She told the NorthSider that the decision to remove the stops was made after a survey revealed that the stops affected some of the ride times as well as responsiveness from bus drivers.

“We have over 5,000 stops today; that’s a lot for us to cover,” she noted. “We have been able to utilize new technology, basically geographical information systems that allow us to evaluate these stops. Through that process it was evaluated that a larger number of stops are spaced simply too close together for efficient travel.”

Metro’s removal of bus stops drew backlash from some residents.

“They took the one away by my house, so I got to walk three extra blocks now,” said Demar Jones, a resident of 20th Street in College Hill. “There’s a lady on my block who’s got a wheelchair. She always leave right before the bus comes; now she gotta leave earlier and go three extra blocks, and it’s extra hot. That lady can f— around and die out here. If [you’re] going to reduce the bus stops, [you] need to change the routes. Make it easier, people – man!”

A group of older adults from the Heritage House Apartments, 2800 Olive Street, rallied to save their bus stop after they found a warning sign across the street from their building.

“I think they need to make sure that they’re not affecting people that really needs the bus stop,” said Merline Buford, a gardener for Heritage House. Buford worked with her friend Mary Williams to create a petition and keep the stop active for fellow residents.

“This is a senior building where a lot of people use walkers and canes, and some use the wheelchairs. For them to have to walk a great distance – now it’s the summer time but in the winter it gets dark – I think it affects them.”

Metro relented for that bus stop.

“We heard from the Heritage House that there was interest in retaining that stop,” Gershwin explained. “Our planning department was able to get in touch with the city to ask them to put up a sign to allow that a bus could be present in that right-hand turn lane.”

Although Heritage House’s stop was saved, many others won’t be. Once the sign crews travel to each neighborhood and physically remove the stops, bus drivers will no longer pick anyone up from that location.

Residents who want to keep their bus stops from being removed are still allowed to contact Metro: by phone, 314-982-1406; text, 314-207-9786; or email, planning@metrostlouis

Vance Brinkley

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