Metro Transit is adjusting transit services and operations for the safety of transit riders and Metro employees, and to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through the bi-state region.
Beginning Monday, March 23, for MetroLink and MetroBus, Metro Transit will begin operating a modified weekend service schedule seven days a week until further notice. Due to dramatically lower ridership, transit service will be adjusted for most MetroBus routes currently served, but with reduced frequency and a shorter service day on some routes. These adjustments include:
• MetroLink will operate the normal weekend schedule seven days a week until further notice.
• MetroBus routes will operate on Saturday schedules, with the exception being routes that currently do not operate on Saturdays and Express routes in Missouri (see below).
• Several MetroBus routes that currently do not operate on Saturdays will operate their normal weekday schedule seven days a week. These routes include the #17 Mackenzie (MO); #101 Fenton Connector (MO); #14 Memorial Hospital-Westfield Plaza (IL); #15 Belleville-O’Fallon (IL); #17 Carlyle Plaza-17th Street (IL); #21 Scott AFB-Main Base Shuttle (IL); #21X Scott AFB-East Base Shuttle (IL). Service on select Express routes in Illinois - #2X Waterloo-Columbia and #17X Lebanon-Mascoutah – will run on weekday schedules until further notice.
• Service on Express MetroBus routes in Missouri is temporarily suspended. The #57X Clayton Road, #58X Twin Oaks Express, #73X I-55 Express, #79X North County Express and #410 Eureka Express routes will be taken out of service until further notice.
• Metro Call-A-Ride will operate the same span of service and the same geographic area it currently operates.
These service adjustments will allow Metro Transit to further increase the frequency of the cleaning and disinfecting protocols implemented for MetroLink trains, MetroBus vehicles and Metro Call-A-Ride vans. To support social distancing, Metro will be closely monitoring service and will assign additional buses to high-volume MetroBus routes as needed to ensure there is sufficient capacity to safely serve all riders.
“With schools and universities closed, many employees working from home, and households making the decision to limit their travel, we have seen about a 40 percent reduction in ridership on the Metro Transit system since the bi-state area has been impacted by COVID-19,” said Taulby Roach, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bi- State Development. “With fewer riders on the trains and buses, we can maintain safe social distancing on transit. We continue to serve customers who are vital workers in the health care and service industries, as well as those passengers making essential trips to medical treatment and grocery stores.”
“With these adjustments, we can provide the region with necessary transportation services, while at the same time minimizing potential exposure to Metro Transit riders, operators, and employees, and allowing us more time to disinfect our trains and buses while they are in service during the day,” said Jessica Mefford-Miller, Executive Director of Metro Transit. “When the region is ready, we will be able to quickly ramp up our transit operations and restore normal service levels.”
Additional information about the service adjustments is available on the Metro website, metrostlouis.org. Customers who need assistance are encouraged to contact Metro Transit Information for schedule and trip- planning support. Metro Transit Information is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. by text at 314-207-9786 and by phone at 314-231-2345.
Fare Enforcement Temporarily Waived on MetroBus and Metro Call-A-Ride
To minimize personal interactions and exposure to COVID-19, Metro Transit is temporarily waiving enforcement of cash fares on MetroBus and Metro Call-A-Ride. Customers using all other fare types can also refrain from using the farebox. This policy will be effective beginning March 21 and continuing through March 31. All MetroBus customers are required to board and exit buses using the rear doors, except in cases where customers require an accessible entrance at the front of the bus.
Fare enforcement will continue on MetroLink, and all MetroLink passengers need to have a valid fare in their possession when riding the light rail system.
In addition, to ensure safe social distancing between Metro Transit operators and riders, new orange lines are being installed on MetroLink train floors near the operator cab and yellow lines on the floor of MetroBus vehicles near the operator cab. Riders will not be allowed to stand within those zones.
Employee Temperature Screening
Beginning on Monday, March 23, all Bi-State Development and Metro Transit employees – including all MetroBus, MetroLink and Metro Call-A-Ride operators – will be required to have their temperature screened when they report to work. This policy will be implemented to reduce potential exposure for Metro Transit riders and other employees. Any employee who has a temperature above 100.4 will be sent home and asked to contact their doctor. Employees will be allowed to return to work once they are fever-free and have a medical statement from their physician.