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I’m Too Old For a Student Transit Pass

August 22, 2006 Bicycling, Education, Grad School, Public Transit, South City 9 Comments

I keep telling myself that being just shy of 40 is not too old to return to college for a Masters. My first class in grad school starts a week from today. But, faced with hostel SLU safety officers that don’t like my scooter locked out of the way on the sidewalk and parking rates ranging from $145 to $1200+ a semester I’m considering bus transit to get me to my two classes this semester.

Sadly, our transit agency thinks I’m too old for a transit pass (source). In fact, I’ve been too old for the last 16 years! Ouch.

Full-time students age 23 and younger with a valid Student ID card who attend a registered school are eligible to purchase a Student Semester Pass for only $125.00 (valid for the fall 2006 semester)! Please check with your school to see if they are currently registered with Metro.

Well, I’m only part-time this Fall anyway. I did manage to save $2 at the Chase the other night by flashing my student ID when purchasing a ticket for The Devil Wears Prada.

On the plus side I will be able to qualify for the senior discount in just over 25 years. Assuming, that is, they don’t raise the senior age by the time I get there.

In truth my 15-week semester with two classes would require only $52.50 in bus fare per the new rates which take effect on August 28th — the day before my first class. I’m looking at biking to the #70 Grand bus and then using it to get to the SLU campus, biking the rest of way to class. Weather and energy permitting I may simply decide to bike home rather than taking the bus. Having my bike would give me the freedom to stop at the store and pick up a few items or head to a coffee house to study. From my door to class I estimate about 45 minutes via this method — about 15+ minutes longer than if I rode my scooter. Driving my car would also save time but there I run the risk of getting parking tickets if parked more than 90 minutes at a meter (the classes are 2.5 hrs long).

Taking the bus certainly looks good, even for us old students.

– Steve


Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. Brad Mello says:

    Steve — welcome to academe — we always know how to complicate things. And you are not too old to return to school — I have students in their 70’s come back to school. Congrats and good luck! Brad

  2. dna says:

    I am in my last year at UMSL and 36 y/o, I’m really glad they don’t put an age limit on the student metro pass here.
    Last semester parking fees were 18 dollars per credit hour. IÂ’m taking 15 credit hours. Looking at gas prices and all the driving to and from UMSL, then to the CWE and then the south west side, I am going to park the car and pocket some cash.
    The student metro pass is 45 bucks per semester (no age limit or they forgot to ask). But this is not going to be easy. The 6 mile bus ride along Kingshighway took nearly 35 minutes yesterday. I was able to walk from Lindell to the CWE metro stop before the Taylor bus ever came by. That made my door to door trip (about 6 miles) one hour.
    It’s going to be a hassle but I look forward to the challenge…and the extra reading time. I may take some of the saved cash and invest in a nice used bike….speed things up a little.

  3. Brian says:

    Steve, if planning to take your bike on the Grand bus, be prepared to be passed by the bus sometimes at a stop, or receive dirty looks from other riders when you get on. While having the best frequency of service, the Grand also has poor on-time performance. Ironically, the huge amont of riders boarding at frequent stops slows down the Grand bus.

    As a rider of multiple routes, I’ve noticed that the busier the route, the less tolerant fellow riders and even operators are of a rider taking longer to board or alight, such as a senior citizen, disabled person or cyclist. This is likely due to busier routes already stopping frequently and having longer dwell times for more people at busier stops, like transfer connections or dense activity areas.

    To compensate for the crowds making the bus late, Grand bus operators often enforce the rule of exiting only from the back door and pass up stops once completely full, including standing room. So then, if you’re planning to take your bike on the Grand, don’t be surprised if:
    A) a full bus doesn’t stop for you,
    B) you’re asked not to get on with others waiting, if the bus is nearly full (bias may be that you’re already holding a personal form of transportation),
    C) upon alighting, the driver grumbles if you want to exit from the front, though logical to retrieve your bike, and/or
    D) fellow riders will seem to give you dirty looks, if not comment in earshot about you, for taking added time with the bike rack.

    [REPLY Well, thanks for the encouragment. Damn. My only experience using the bike on the bus has been the #40 route along Broadway and I think the #52 once.

    I have found that using my bike at more popular stops is good. I can have my bike loaded/unloaded while others are exiting and boarding so I am not actually holding up the bus.

    This shows a big problem in our system. The #70 Grand line is so popular it is often late and/or full. Looks like we need a frequency increase or perhaps an articulated bus with increased capacity. – SLP]

  4. maire says:


    you can park your scooter in front of humanties. another faculty person does.

  5. Todd Plesko says:

    I have not found 70 Grand or any other Missouri Metrobus route “bike unfriendly.” Like Steve, I have learned to board my bus while others are getting on. I do hustle when I get off to get up quickly to remove the bike from the bus, but so far I have not had any dirty looks from anyone on the bus. You will see bikes on Grand frequently. You will get more conflicts and dirty looks on very heavy MetroLink trips.

    Second, In November 2005 Metro improved 70 Grand from a base 12 to 15 minute headway to a 10 minute weekday headway where the north and southbound trips were schedule to fit between Metrolink at Grand. Selected 5 minute trips were added in some spots. This did a lot to balance the loads, but doesn’t totally solve the problem.

    This year, the St. Louis City Schools will be shifting Vashon, Roosevelt, Clyde C Miller and infact all high school students to yellow school buses. This will drop Metro ridership by over 1.5 million annually and the 70 Grand line may drop by over 2000 passengers per weekday. This is likely going to eliminate some of the heavy loads.

    We have considered “artics”. they may have some application if this line continues to increase in weekday ridership, Artics are 15 % slower due to more stops of the higher passenger volume. We would have to increase the length of the bus stops causing more conflicts with parkng and turn lanes. This investment is normally justified by spreading headways to require fewer buses. However, when you slow down the cycle time on the route, you end up needing the same number of buses. I do not see that reducing the interval between buses to be possible at present.

  6. Joe Frank says:

    There are so many places on Grand where people already park in the bus stops on a regular basis — Grand and Juniata (southbound) comes to mind as a particular problem spot — I can’t realistically see using double-ended articulated ‘bendy’ buses here.

    Why doesn’t anybody enforce the no parking zone there? Or is it that neighboring businesses pushed for a smaller bus stop? As a result, whenever the bus stops there, it prevents traffic from exiting eastbound Juniata onto Grand.

  7. historymajor says:

    Steve–I sent metro’s ed a note explaining that the policy seems a little ageist; not only to grad students, but also non-traditional adult students. And, since this type of student is independent, a lot more budget concious and a better market for these passes. I’ll let you know if I get a reply.

  8. Sam Snelling says:

    I’ve been given a student id just for wearing a SLU hat.

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