Monday, November 28, 2005

Ticked-Off Reverse Commuters

Ticked-Off Reverse Commuters

I often ride the #58 Clayton-Ballas bus a short distance, from the Forest Park MetroLink station to WashU.

But most people ride it a lot farther. They work at places like Saint Louis Galleria, St. John's Mercy, Missouri Baptist, and St. Luke's hospitals, and now as far west as Spirit of St. Louis Airport.

The new #58 schedule, effective today, includes some major changes, which a lot of passengers didn't know about:

  • Service frequency was decreased from every 14-15 minutes, with alternating trips serving Ballas MetroBus Center or Brentwood Garage, to every 30 minutes;
  • Service on Brentwood Blvd. south of I-64 was eliminated; a transfer to the #66 Brentwood-Airport is necessary at the Clayton MetroBus Center. It runs once every 30 minutes;
  • Service on Clayton Rd. from Brentwood to Ballas was eliminated, except for selected early AM and late PM trips that serve the section from Lindbergh to Ballas. At all other times, a transfer to the new Clayton Road Connector is necessary at either Clayton MetroBus Center or Ballas MetroBus Center. It runs once each hour;
  • Direct service to Chesterfield Valley was added, once each hour mid-day and every trip after 3 PM. The alternating midday trips end at Ballas MetroBus Center.

    According to several passengers, the bus scheduled for 30 minutes prior to the one I caught never showed up! So several people were quite late for work today.

    And to make it even more confusing, the new schedule as printed and as posted online in PDF says "Effective August 22, 2005" on the front cover. This makes you think it's an old schedule! Inside, it does say "Effective November 28, 2005."

    Reminds me of another snafu they made several years back on the #40 Broadway: the printed schedule dropped Saturday and Sunday service entirely! They didn't drop the service; they just forgot to include it in the schedule.

    Details, details, details. I guess as long as Larry Salci gets paid (very well, thank you very much), nothing else matters.

    After all, it's not like most of these long-distance reverse commuters have other alternatives for getting to work. But, if they get ticked-off enough, they might find alternatives.

    And, perhaps, that's secretly what Metro wants - less of that expensive, long-distance service to West County. While it's true transit service cannot please everybody, all the time, Metro seems to have a penchant for ticking-off everybody, all the time.

    Urban Review - St. Louis said...

    This is really unfortunate. Metro continues to stumble at every turn making it harder and harder to build support for more mass transit.

    Lily Bleu said...

    Is there a way we can gather support for kicking Salci out or getting a NEW public transportation company in STL as competition for Metro? Something needs to change. Without effective and efficient public transportation we cannot begin to compete with other cities.

    Anonymous said...

    You need to get Blunt out, not Salci. Unlike Illinois, Missouri has zero of its fuel tax going towards transit. All service cutbacks have been in Missouri.

    Michael Allen said...

    The Bi-State (aka Metro) Board of Commissioners needs to go! They are as responsible as Salci for ensuring that Metro runs itself into the ground. The Board needs to be composed of people who use public transit, promote density and sustainable growth and take an active role in ensuring that Metro is efficient and viable. The current board is complacent and old-school to a fault. And old-school here means autocentrist, anti-urban, anti-poor thinking.

    A deeper issue is developing good jobs close to where city residents live, but the solution is long-term there. A new Bi-State/Metro Board and Director is a very feasible goal.

    Joe said...

    To get on the board of Metro, you gotta be pretty damn well-connected politically. Right now, that means you gotta be a Republican or Republican-leaning in Missouri, because the Governor appoints members.

    And it would help to be an African-American Republican-leaning person.

    So, the newest member of the Board is Lewis McKinney, an Anheuser-Busch executive and 1970s SLU basketball star. A-B, of course, supports BOTH political parties quite a lot.

    The board has 5 MO reps and 5 IL reps. Traditionally, the 5 MO slots rotate with the City having 2 and the County 3, then the City having 3 and the County 2.

    The other MO members are Kevin Cahill, formerly of the ICIC initiative/RCGA and now at Edward Jones; Harvey Harris of Fox Associates; Crestwood alderman and Lutheran minister Richard LaBore; and former Clayton mayor and Stifel Nicolaus exec Hugh Scott III.

    LaBore and Scott are of course pretty darn Republican, St. Louis County reps. Cahill is African-American and I think a County (U City) resident; Harris is a City (CWE) resident but controversial of course for his anti-Kiel stance. McKinney also is a CWE resident.

    The Illinois reps are chosen by their county board chairs and, hence, are very much politically-connected. There hasn't been an East St. Louis resident for a long time, as far as I know.

    Unfortunately, this selection process is unlikely to change anytime soon. I would love to see a representative from a transit advocacy group (not Citizens for Modern Transit, but ACORN or somebody like that). But it probably ain't gonna happen. These are conservative political and business types, to whom somebody like Larry Salci is probably pretty appealing.