Sunday, March 30, 2014


Dear Metro (in particular, Chief of Planning and System Development):

1) What funds are going into developing sanitation facilities (toilets) at Metro bus transfer centers and Metrolink stations?  What consideration is being given to this most basic of human needs?

2) You say that one million people ride public transit every year.  How do you count the number of individual people that ride?  I can see where it would be easy to count your 55 million boardings, but how are you counting individuals?  Do you do surveys? Do you know what neighborhoods use your services the most? What are your busiest buses?  What are your busiest transfer centers?  What are your least-used bus and train lines?

3) You say that you are connecting people with jobs, yet your own maps (actually the East West Gateway Council of Governments' maps) of areas with the lowest ownership of cars are underserved, as are many of the areas with the most jobs.  The connectivity between the areas is also badly served in all but a few places (Central West End, Downtown).  Shouldn't that be your highest priority? What are you doing to change that?

4) When will more Metrolink service be available in north Saint Louis, and south city areas such as South Grand and Dutchtown?  Can you provide the public and OPTINSTL with maps of existing tracks, development plans, and feasibility studies?  If so, how do we access them?

5) You allow universities and employers to subsidize transit passes for employees, seemingly at their discretion.  You also sell "semester passes" to college students. Do you have any plans in development to offer passes at a discount to low-income people on welfare, and the unemployed?  Have you reached out to these agencies to look for ways to provide low cost passes to the disadvantaged-- which would seem to be your largest rider base?

6)  Can you point me to the official story of how the proposed St. Charles Metrolink was rejected? What lessons did Metro learn from this? Also, why was a train put into Shrewsbury when north Saint Louis has the greatest need?  Can you offer any assistance to the public and OPTINSTL on how to make sure future trains are not blocked?

7) Many of your bus stops are badly placed and many are not marked with the identifying information for the bus lines that stop there. None of them have schedules, routes, or fares posted.  There seems to be a lack of coordination and planning with the cities (who decide where the bus stops can be placed) on trash cans, lighting, sidewalk repair and so forth.  Especially in low-income areas where families with young children ride the bus, this seems like it should be an obvious priority.  What plans are in place to create better bus stops?

In particular, to post route, schedule and fares?  I have suggested two sheets of acrylic, three sided (the top would be sealed to prevent moisture from precipitation) with holes at the top and bottom, to be bolted to the metal poles that the bus stops signs are mounted on.  I was told it was too expensive.  Can you direct me to the feasibility study that was done that determined this cost was too high?


8) Are there any plans to extend the Customer service information?  It is nice that you started the phone and email alerts, but many low-income people do not have data service on their phones.  When people need to reach Metro the most, it is usually late at night and on weekends.

9) You are raising fares by 5%, but offer no explanation of how the three fare options all will equal the same amount of money -- 2.5 million dollars per year.  Can you direct me to the studies that were done, and how each of the three options totals up?

10) You also own Downtown St. Louis Airport, and the Arch and Riverboat Trams.  How much of the revenues generated from those entities are used for public transportation?  Have you investigated selling these entities to private companies?  If so, have you done any discovery of what impact this would have on the public transit system?  Would sale of these entities provided you with needed funds to improve existing services?

11) Can you explain why there is not more outreach work done-- such as rider surveys, and having Metro officials available on buses and Metrolink to make feedback more convenient to the riders?  To come to your hearings, those of us that don't have the money to buy bus passes have to pay to come, in addition to having our day disrupted.  And you would reach a much greater portion of customers by coming to them.


12) Why doesn't Metro require employees that are not drivers or train operators to ride public transportation from the closest park and ride location from their homes, at least once a week?

13) In 2009, a year after the economic collapse in the U.S., and after four years- by your own statistics-- of increasing ridership, you had to severely cut services.  Do more riders equal more revenue?  And how so?  Can you direct me to the mathematical algorithms and statistical models (excuse me if my terminology is wrong) that you use to determine how many riders and at what fare structure you need to increase services?

14) Your website says that for every $1 a community invests in public transit, it receives $4 in federal money via Metro/Bi-State.  Can you explain to me exactly how that works?  Where does the $1 come from, and who gets paid the $4 in return? Also, is this true equally, for all communities?  And if so, does that mean that lower-income areas are lower served, because they have fewer dollars to contribute?

14) The Loop Trolley Transportation District was just awarded $25 million from an Urban Circulator Grant.  The reasons for the Public Transit riders to oppose the proposed Trolley are numerous.  What partnerships are Metro building with local communities to put Urban Circulators in areas that really need them?  How much exploration has been done on Urban Circulators?


That is all for now.  If you can respond to these questions by email, please do.  If I need to come to Metro and pick up the hard copy print outs, please let me know.  If there is another agency or person I need to address, please let me know who they are.

Thank you.

EDIT: This was emailed to the Chief of Planning and System Development.

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