Monday, March 24, 2014


From fall of 2010 until the end of 2011 I rode Metro five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, to and from my home in University City near Midland and Vernon, to my job in Maplewood near Sutton and Manchester.

When I first started this job I had use of a car.  It was 15 minutes drive, door to door, in the mid-morning, and about 20 to 25 minutes home at night during the end of rush hour.  It was such an easy drive, and pleasant, down Big Bend most of the way.

Then the car died.

No matter how I configured it, the trip always took at least an hour on public transportation.  And that was when the sidewalks weren't piled with snow or slippery with ice.

I could get the #2 at Schnucks, and ride it the whole exhausting way-- all it's Washington University subsidized twists and turns, through the campus and down Wydown, through Wal-Mart parking, etc.  (See the link to the route map, below).  It was an hour ride, plus another 15 to 20 minutes on foot, to and from the bus stop.  And the 2 only goes down Manchester once an hour.  It runs every 30 minutes, but goes as far as the Maplewood Metrolink, and does not travel on Big Bend at all when it goes down that route.  (Big Bend is much closer to Sutton than the Metrolink.)

I could ride the 2 to Enright and Eastgate, get off, and jog two blocks over to Skinker and Delmar and catch the #16 to Bellevue and Manchester, and walk the rest of the way.  If I had missed the #16 I got back on the #2 as it came from the Delmar Metrolink, and either ride it to the Blue Line Metrolink at Skinker and Forest Park Parkway, and then walk from the Maplewood Metrolink or wait for the #32 if the weather was bad.  Sometimes the wait for the #32 was shorter than my walk, sometimes it was a 40 minute wait.

Usually I just walked, even in bad weather, and sometimes out in the street, on Manchester, when the snowplows had just gone through and piled all the snow on the sidewalks.

I could also walk 25 minutes over the hill from Midland down to Big Bend and Forest Park Parkway to the Big Bend Blue Line station, catch the Metrolink Blue Line to Maplewood, and, again, catch the 32 if the timing was right, or walk the rest of the way.

(The Hanley bus to the Clayton Blue Line station required I leave 15 minutes earlier than any other option, and I am not a morning person.  I did that route once. It still took over an hour.)

No matter how I travelled, it was an hour, minimum, if I made all the connections on time.  (You cannot be late at all if you are dealing with public transit.)

In the 1980's the bus used to run down Big Bend.  It was a 30 minute ride from Webster Groves to the University City Library.  Then all of the buses were re-routed to the trains, during the 1990's, and then in 2009 Metro mis-managed itself so badly, it had to cut 24 lines and many were re-routed to pick up the slack.

And, of course, Washington University was allowed to subsidize several bus lines to more suit its' students, including the #2.

They say service has improved, but I made the trip in July of 2013 and it took me the same amount of time, and it was the same travel options.

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