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New Switchback Ramp Between Civic Center MetroLink & Gateway Transportation Center Should Reduce Accidents

To reduce pedestrians being hit by light rail trains they’ve been making changes to conflict points, this is about the access to the Civic Center MetroLink Station from the Gateway Transportation Center, which opened in late 2008.

When the Gateway Transportation Center (Amtrak & Greyhound) opened in the Fall of 2008 the access to the adjacent Civic Center MetroLink Station was a straight shot. November 2010 photo
When the Gateway Transportation Center (Amtrak & Greyhound) opened in the Fall of 2008 the access to the adjacent Civic Center MetroLink Station was a straight shot. November 2010 photo
In May 2014 work was underway
In May 2014 work was underway
View looking the opposite direction
View looking the opposite direction
By March 2015 the change was complete
By March 2015 the change was complete
Now it isn't a straight shot across the tracks.
Now it isn’t a straight shot across the tracks.
Everyone must go through a wide switchback
Everyone must go through a wide switchback

This change may also be related to the coming smart card technology, a reader is shown above. The question I have is will I have a problem passing through the Civic Center MetroLink to reach the Gateway Transportation Center?

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

Readers: Metro Should Ban Smoking at MetroBus Transit Centers Like They Do At MetroLink Light Rail Platforms

Ever since our MetroLink light rail system opened in 1993 it has been treated very differently from the MetroBus system, with the latter being sort of the bastard step-child. Smoking isn’t allowed inside bus or train vehicles but currently smoking isn’t allowed on MetroLink platforms, but is allowed at MetroBus transit centers — those places where many bus lines converge.

Looking east toward Taylor from the CWE MetroLink platform
Looking east toward Taylor from the CWE MetroLink platform. The garage at the left contains a MetroBus center where smoking is allowed but the platform where the photo was taken smoking isn’t allowed.
Many people use the Civic Center MetroBus transit center daily, where smoking is allowed despite the close quarters. 
Many people use the Civic Center MetroBus transit center daily, where smoking is allowed despite the close quarters.

When MetroLink opened in 1993 smoking was allowed on platforms, despite lobbying by light rail advocates to make platforms smoke-free Bi-State (no Metro) President John K. Leary Jr., whose wife smoked, decided to permit smoking. After he left for SEPTA in 1997 the policy was changed.

What justification is there for treating these two differently with respect to smoking? Smokers and non-smokers use both systems, which is why many MetroBus Transit Centers are located adjacent to MetroLink stations.

Here are the results from the Sunday Poll:

Q: Metro allows smoking at MetroBus Transit Centers but not on MetroLink platforms. Metro should:

  1. Ban smoking at both 29 [70.73%]
  2. Unsure/No Opinion 5 [12.2%]
  3. Allow smoking at both 4 [9.76%]
  4. Keep policy as is — smoking allowed at one but not the other 3 [7.32%]

I reluctantly accept the challenge it would be to ban smoking at thousands of bus stops, but enforcing a no-smoking policy at MetroBus Transit Centers is no different than at MetroLink stations. It’s time Metro!!

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Metro allows smoking at MetroBus Transit Centers but not on MetroLink platforms. Metro should:

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

Today’s poll is about Metro’s smoking policy. Riders can smoke at transit centers while waiting for a MetroBus, but those riders on platforms waiting for a MetroLink light rail train can’t smoke. Transit centers are points where numerous bus routes meet, often adjacent to MetroLink stations — Civic Center & North Hanley are two examples.

The poll question is:  Metro allows smoking at MetroBus Transit Centers but not on MetroLink platforms. Metro should:

The options provided, in random order, are:

  • Allow smoking at both
  • Prohibit smoking at both
  • Keep policy as is — smoking allowed at one but not the other
  • Unsure/No Opinion

The poll, as always, is on the top of the right sidebar.It’ll close at 8pm central.

— Steve Patterson

 

Good News Friday: Metro Mobile App

Last week our transit agency, Metro, released its first mobile app — called Metro On The Go:

You asked for a Metro app — and now you have it! Metro On The Go, the official mobile application of Metro transit, is now available. You can download it for free from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Metro On The Go lets you plan your trip on Metro transit, check schedules for MetroLink and all 75 MetroBus routes, and tap into real-time vehicle data so you can see when the next bus will arrive — all from the palm of your hand. (NextStopSTL)

The app is available for Android & iOS mobile devices. I’ll share my thoughts on the iOS version later in this post, but first I want to bring up an issue before others do. Some may say things like “not everyone has a smartphone”, “not everyone can afford a smartphone”, “this is elitist”, etc.  These people likely have broadband at home and choose to not have a smartphone — for others the reverse is the case:

10% of Americans own a smartphone but do not have broadband at home, and 15% own a smartphone but say that they have a limited number of options for going online other than their cell phone. Those with relatively low income and educational attainment levels, younger adults, and non-whites are especially likely to be “smartphone-dependent.” (Pew Reseach — U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015)

From the same source:

Lower-income smartphone owners are especially likely to use their phone during a job search. Compared with smartphone owners from households earning $75,000 or more per year, those from households earning less than $30,000 annually are nearly twice as likely to use a smartphone to look for information about a job — and more than four times as likely to use their phone to actually submit a job application.

Similarly, “smartphone-dependent” users are much more likely to use their smartphones to access career opportunities. 63% of these smartphone-dependent users have gotten job information on their phone in the last year, and 39% have used their phone to submit a job application.

Young adults (85% of whom are smartphone owners) are also incorporating their mobile devices into a host of information seeking and transactional behaviors. About three-quarters of 18-29 year old smartphone owners have used their phone in the last year to get information about a health condition; about seven-in-ten have used their phone to do online banking or to look up information about job; 44% have consumed educational content on their phone; and 34% have used their phone to apply for a job.

The app can be useful, but is it? In short — yes! In just days my initial complaint has already been addressed.

main menu
The main menu
jj
For me the “Next Departures” is the most helpful. When I downloaded the app on the first day the stops didn’t list the bus direction — which is important to know — so I’m glad they listened to feedback
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Being able to see if a bus is on time or running late is very helpful

I wasn’t able to test the Android version, my husband went back to iOS in the Fall of 2013.  The ‘Trip Planner’ isn’t as responsive as the Google Maps app. Still, for most of my transit use I need to know the next departure of the #10 at 16th & Olive or the #97 at 16th & Washington. This will come in handy when I’m at places and want to know when the next return bus home arrives.  Thanks Metro!

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers: MetroBus & MetroLink Are Equally Safe

I’ve been a regular rider of public transit in St. Louis for a few years now, I’ve never felt unsafe or witnessed any crime. Still, a recent assault on a train has many concerned.

Talking to people over the years some would only ride MetroLink light rail, they’d never consider MetroBus. I’ve asked [white] people if they’d ridden public transit, a common answer was “Yes, MetroLink.” Most are shocked when I tell them I use MetroBus far more often than MetroLink.

The vote count Sunday was low, but I liked the fair results:

Q: Which mode of public transportation do you think is the safest in St. Louis?

  1. Tie/equal 11 [45.83%]
  2. Bus (MetroBus) 6 [25%]
  3. Light rail (MetroLink) 5 [20.83%]
  4. Unsure/no answer 2 [8.33%]

Despite the hysteria on the local news, both MetroLink & MetroBus are largely safe modes. I’d be more worried about driving on I-270 than being assaulted on public transportation. I’ll leave it to others to dig through piles of data.

— Steve Patterson

 

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