Metro Transit (St. Louis)

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Bi-State Development Agency
d/b/a Metro Transit
St Louis MetroLink Logo.svg
MetroLink train departing from the Sunnen station.
LocaleSt. Louis Metropolitan Area
Transit typeLight rail
Express bus service
Number of lines2 Light rail lines
75 bus routes
Number of stations37 (Light rail)
9000 (Bus stops)
14 (Transit centers)
34 (Park and ride lots)
Daily ridership140,000 (2015)[1]
Annual ridership45,212,700 (2015)[1]
Chief executiveTaulby Roach (January 2019 - Present)
Headquarters211 N Broadway
St. Louis, Missouri 63102
Began operationSeptember 20, 1949 (September 20, 1949)
Reporting marksBSDA
Number of vehicles31 Siemens SD-400s
56 Siemens SD-460s
390 Gillig buses
120 Paratransit vans

Metro Transit is an enterprise of Bi-State Development, an interstate compact formed by Missouri and Illinois in 1949. Its operating budget in 2016 was $280 million,[2] which is funded by sales taxes from the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, the St. Clair County Illinois Transit District, federal and state grants and subsidies, and through fare paying passengers.[3][2]


Metro owns and operates the St. Louis Metropolitan region's public transportation system, which includes MetroLink, the region's light rail system; MetroBus, the region's bus system; Metro Call-A-Ride, the region'sparatransit system.

Bi-State Development also owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport (formerly Parks) and the adjoining industrial business park, paddlewheel-style river excursion boats, and the tram system leading to the top of the Gateway Arch. Metro has more than 2,400 employees and carries over 55 million passengers each year.


Bi-State Development was established on September 20, 1949, by an interstate compact passed by the state legislatures in Illinois and Missouri, and then approved by the governors of the two states; the Compact, approved by the United States Congress and signed by President Harry S. Truman on August 31, 1950, created an organization that has broad powers in seven counties (St. Louis City, St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson Counties in Missouri and St. Clair, Madison and Monroe Counties in Illinois); the Compact gives BSD the ability to plan, construct, maintain, own and operate bridges, tunnels, airports and terminal facilities, plan and establish policies for sewage and drainage facilities and other public projects, and issue bonds and exercise such additional powers as conferred upon it by the legislatures of both states. Funding is received from local, state and federal sources through grant, contract and sales tax revenue. BSD does not have taxing authority but is authorized to collect fees from the operation of its facilities. Today, BSD is organized as one parent organization with several business operating units including St. Louis Downtown Airport, Gateway Arch Riverfront, Metro, Bi-State Development Research Institute, Arts In Transit, Inc., and St. Louis Regional Freightway. BSD also has three selfinsurance funds (Health, Casualty and Workers’ Compensation) that support operations and operates Arts in Transit, Inc. a 501(c)(3) organization that ensures the integration of local art and design on our region's transit system.

Metro was founded in 1963 when BSD purchased and consolidated 15 privately owned transit operations by using a $26.5 million bond issue to sustain efficient and reliable bus service in the region. Today, BSD provides three modes of public transportation services in the St. Louis region: MetroBus, bus operations; MetroLink, light rail operations; and Metro Call-A-Ride, paratransit operations; the MetroBus fleet consists of approximately 400 vehicles operating on 79 MetroBus routes. The MetroLink light rail system has 46 miles of track, 37 stations and 21 Park and Ride lots; the Metro Call-A-Ride fleet has 120 vans which primarily provide curb-to-curb van service for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) eligible customers. In addition, Arts in Transit, Inc. facilitates public art programs and community engagement projects that ensure excellence in art and design that weave transit into the community.

BSD expanded into light rail transportation in July 1993; the original 17-mile corridor was constructed between Lambert International Airport in Missouri and Fifth and Missouri Streets in East St. Louis, Illinois. MetroLink doubled in length with the 2001 expansion to Southwestern Illinois College in Illinois and the 2003 expansion to Shiloh, Illinois, home of Scott Air Force Base; the most recent light rail expansion occurred in August 2006 when the Cross County extension was completed. This expansion added another eight miles on the Blue Line through Clayton south to Shrewsbury, Missouri.

In 1987, Metro Call-A-Ride began demand response service to fill a need for alternative transportation service to customers with physical or cognitive disabilities who are unable to independently use regular fixed route bus or light rail service. BSD has created programs to educate and certify all paratransit users. BSD also spearheaded the regional Transportation Management Association (TMA), which consists of private for-profit and non-profit transportation providers working together to provide regional paratransit services.

Today, East-West Gateway Council of Government, the region's metropolitan planning organization, is involved in consideration of several MetroLink expansion options for the future while Metro transit continues to implement its long-range plan with projects like the new North County Transit Center (completed in March 2016), as well as projects in the works like the Civic Center Transit Center expansion and construction of a new MetroLink station to serve the Cortex Innovation Community which will open in 2018.


Bi-State Development was established on September 20, 1949, by an interstate compact passed by the state legislatures of Illinois and Missouri and approved by both governors; the compact was approved by the U. S. Congress and signed by President Harry S. Truman on August 31, 1950. A 10-member Board of Commissioners sets policy and direction for the organization; the governor of Missouri appoints five commissioners and the County Boards of St. Clair and Madison Counties in Illinois appoint five commissioners. All commissioners must be resident voters of their respective state and must reside within the Bi-State Metropolitan District; each term is for five years and each serves without compensation.

Missouri commissioners[edit]

  • Kevin Cahill - Secretary
  • Constance Gully
  • Lewis L. McKinney Jr.
  • Hugh Scott III
  • New Member to be appointed

Illinois commissioners[edit]

  • Jeffrey K. Watson
  • Fonzy Coleman
  • David A. Dietzel - Treasurer
  • Tadas (Tad) Kicielinski
  • Michael Buehlhorn


Historical Sales Tax Ballot Initiatives
Date County Sales Tax Result
November 1993 St. Clair 0.5% Passed
August 1994 City of St. Louis 0.25% Passed
August 1994 St. Louis 0.25% Passed
August 1996 St. Charles 0.5% Failed
November 1996 St. Charles 0.5% Failed
November 1997 City of St. Louis 0.25% Passed[4]
November 1997 St. Louis 0.25% Failed
November 1997 Madison 0.5% Failed
November 2008 St. Louis 0.5% Failed
April 2010 St. Louis 0.5% Passed

Collectively, St. Louis County and St. Louis City (St. Louis City is an independent city not associated with St. Louis County) contribute 1% in sales tax to Metro, while St. Clair County in Illinois contributes 3/4% in sales tax to Metro.


The current fares (as of July 1, 2014) are as follows (kids under 5, accompanied by fare-paying rider, are exempt, limit 3):[5]

MetroBus Fare MetroBus Fare
with Multi-Use transfer
1-Ride Ticket
Metro Two-Hour Pass Metro Two-Hour Pass
from Lambert Airport
Metro One-Day Pass Metro Weekly Pass Metro Monthly Pass Metro 10 Ride Student Tickets
with Multi Use Transfer
Adults $2 $3 $2.50 $3 $4 $7.50 $27 $78 $19
Children (ages 5–12)
& Disabled
$1 $1.50 $1.25 $1.50 $2 $39

Transit services[edit]


Since 1963, Bi-State Development has continuously provided bus service in the Greater St. Louis Region. BSD currently operates 60 fixed bus routes in Missouri and 18 fixed bus routes in Illinois, which is an increase of two routes from FY 2016. Additional special bus service is offered in Illinois for all St. Louis Cardinals home baseball games and the Muny Opera. Bus services on the Illinois side of the river are supplemented by Madison County Transit.

Facilities: 3 garages and 1 maintenance facility 6 MetroBus Transit Centers 13 free park – ride lots


Since 1993, Bi-State Development has provided light rail service in the Greater St. Louis Region; the MetroLink system covers 38 miles from Lambert International Airport in Missouri to Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. In addition the Cross County extension, which opened in 2006, covers 8 miles from Forest Park south to Shrewsbury, Missouri; the overall alignment serves St. Louis County, the City of St. Louis in Missouri and St. Clair County in Illinois.

The system currently consists of two lines, Red Line and Blue Line which runs through Downtown St. Louis with 73.3 kilometers (46 miles) of track. The system features 37 stations and carries an average of 67,684 people each weekday (FY 2007).[6] Unlike most light rail systems in the United States, this system runs closely similar to a heavy rail system.[citation needed]

Metro Call-A-Ride[edit]

Since FY 1987, Call-A-Ride has provided alternative transportation to residents who have limited access to MetroBus or MetroLink service and/or disabled residents who are unable to use these services. Another important function of the Call-A-Ride organization is scheduling and dispatching paratransit vehicles operated by other members of the Transportation Management Association which coordinates paratransit operations in eastern Missouri; these programs are designed to ensure Bi-State Development meets the federal mandate of full ADA compliance.

Loop Trolley[edit]

The Delmar Loop Trolley is a 2.2 mile trolley line that connects the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park to the Delmar Loop. The line has 10 stations, including stops at the Forest Park–DeBaliviere and Delmar Loop Metrolink stations. After several delays, service began in November of 2018; the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District owns the line and trolley cars, which are operated by the non-profit Loop Trolley Company, separate from the Bi-State Development Agency. Metro Passes cannot be used on the Loop Trolley, as it is not operated by Metro Transit.


Security for the Metro System is provided by uniformed police officers along with uniformed security officers. A comprehensive security system is in place that includes well-lit stations and cars, closed-circuit television monitoring, emergency telephones, continuous police patrol of rail cars and stations, security personnel at park-ride lots, and constant radio communication between vehicle operators and MetroBus and MetroLink Central Control.


"Moving Transit Forward" is a long-range planning process that will create a thirty-year transit plan for the St. Louis region;[7] the Moving Transit Forward is made up of group of people who bring a broad range of transit experience and perspectives to the planning process. It is headed by Metro's CEO John Nations, COO Ray Friem, Senior Vice President of Engineering & New Systems Development Christopher C. Poehler, and Chief of Planning & System Development Jessica Mefford-Miller; this plan will consist of focusing on service expansion and create jobs for its citizens. It will consists on planning potential MetroLink expansion, considering flex transit, enhance express bus services, developing express bus corridors into bus rapid transit (BRT) lines, and creating high speed commuter rail lines. Metro is working with Madison County Transit and St. Clair County Transit District in Illinois about this plan. Metro is also educating the public about how the system is funded.

MetroLink Expansion[edit]

Light rail has been the most favorable transportation in the Greater St. Louis region. According to Metro, there are over 80 miles of corridors being studied for analysis: Daniel Boone Corridor, MetroNorth Corridor, MetroSouth Corridor, NorthSide Corridor, SouthSide Corridor, NorthWest Connector, and MidAmerica Extension; some are considered potential future corridors; St. Charles Corridor, SouthWest Corridor, and two Madison County Corridors.

Bus rapid transit[edit]

Bus rapid transit has been also a favorable option for St. Louis. Metro will consider bus rapid transit to be highway based on I-64, I-44, I-55, I-70, or major arterials such as Grand Boulevard, North County, and Kingshighway Blvd. A NABI BRT bus was tested for nine days between late October and late November 2008.[8]

Commuter rail[edit]

According to studies, the routes may run from Downtown St. Louis to Alton, Illinois, Festus, and Pacific, Missouri. There are 80 miles of routes being considered. Commuter rail lines were in Metro's plans in 1994 when voters approved a one-fourth cent transit sale tax, but officials dropped them later because the cost was not worth the benefit and the fare would be expensive.

Urban bus[edit]

Some MetroBus routes are being analysed with the thirty-year plan, it may require a new fleet of metro buses. In late September 2008, an Alexander Dennis Enviro500 bus was tested for nine days.[9]

Flex routes[edit]

There are plans to include flex transit. Flex transit runs on mixed routes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2015" (pdf). American Public Transportation Association. March 2, 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-19 – via
  2. ^ a b "Bi-State Development Agency of the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District, d.b.a.(St. Louis) Metro" (PDF). National Transit Database Agency Profiles. Federal Transit Administration. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  3. ^ Agency Overview Archived September 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ The 1997 Proposition M in St. Louis City was dependent on the passage of a similar proposition in St. Louis County. Consequently, the sales tax was not collected until St. Louis County passed Proposition A in 2010.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Moving Transit Forward Draft". Moving Transit Forward. Archived from the original on 2 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
  7. ^ "BRT Preview in St. Louis". STL Today. Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
  8. ^ "Double-Decker Test in St. Louis". STL Today. Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2010-01-31.

External links[edit]