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Poll results: reader’s bus ridership high

I was pleasantly surprised by the results of last week’s poll:

Q: Have you ever ridden a municipal bus?

  1. Yes in St. Louis and other cities 181 [ 67%]
  2. Yes but not in St. Louis 50 [19%]
  3. Yes in St. Louis only 18 [7%]
  4. No and I have no plans to ride a bus ever 13 [5%]
  5. Not yet but I plan to do so 4 [1%]
  6. Other answer… 3 [1%]

The three other answers were:

  1. Rode in STL; vacationed in San Antonio
  2. I certainly have and I was born in West County, went to public school
  3. Yes, but never riding again

Only 5% had no plans to ride a bus for the first time.  Hopefully these folks will reconsider at some point.  I’m curious if they have ridden our light rail?

Nearly 20% hadn’t ridden a bus elsewhere but not in St. Louis.

– Steve Patterson


Have you ever ridden a municipal bus?

In the last week it came to my attention that I know many people, including some supporting Proposition A, have never once ridden a city bus.  That was me well into my 30s. So my poll this week is trying to see if readers here have actually ridden a bus or not. The poll is in the right column.

I’m still no daily rider but I’ve ridden the bus in several cities so I feel I know enough to give a general overview.  Hopefully more experienced riders will add their tips in the comments below. The route number for the bus is show at the top and on the sides, #13 in the above example.  Where you have more than one bus using the same stop this is helpful so you get on the correct bus.  All our buses here have bike racks on the front. I was very nervous the first time I went to place my bike on the rack.

In these examples the rack is folded up since it is not in use.  Loading your bike just requires you to pull down the rack so you can load your bike.  Each rack will hold two bikes in opposite directions from each other. The rack has trays for the wheels and a bar to hold it securely in place.  For more information see Metro’s Bike-N-Ride FAQ page.

Regular adult fares are $2.00 and $2.75 with a transfer valid for a connecting bus.  Bus drivers do not give change so if you use three singles to buy a pass w/transfer you will not get any change. Unlike our light rail where you buy a ticket and just walk on, with a bus you pay as you enter.  The fare box accepts bills and coins.  Riders with passes just swipe their pass as they enter. See the Metro Fare Chart for all the details.

Riders are asked to exit the set of doors that are midway toward the back.  That allows new passengers to begin entering the bus.   Unlike our light rail, or commuter rail/subways in other cities, a bus doesn’t automatically stop at every stop.  A pull cord runs along each side of the interior of the bus.  You pull the cord to alert the driver you wish to stop at the next stop.

If you are among those that has never ridden a municipal bus I encourage you to do so.  I still prefer modern streetcars but the bus has a place in most transit systems.

– Steve Patterson


Show your support for transit

March 6, 2010 Politics/Policy, Public Transit, St. Louis County, Taxes Comments Off on Show your support for transit

On Tuesday April 6, 2010 voters in St. Louis County will vote on a measure to help fund transit operations in the region. Voters in the City of St. Louis approved a companion measure years ago and it will begin once the county approves their measure.  Myself and others have changed our Facebook profile pictures to show us using public transit:

ABOVE: Steve Patterson riding a St. Louis MetroBus; photo by Courtney Sloger
ABOVE: from Steve Patterson's Facebook profile; photo by Courtney Sloger

There are some rules about photography but they don’t prevent snapping a quick pic such as mine above:

Photography on the Metro system is permitted with the following limitations. Photographers and videographers who plan to take photos or video for commercial use, or who need to set up tripods, lighting or other equipment need prior approval. For approval call 314-982-1440 or e-mail SpeakerTourResearch@metrostlouis.org. Please be advised that security personnel may approach photographers and videographers to inquire about their purpose. Activities may be limited for security, safety or customer convenience. Photography of critical infrastructure including MetroLink tracks, bridges, and tunnels is not permitted.

So get out there on our transit and get a picture of yourself using the system so your friends in St. Louis County will realize that even if they personally don’t ride transit, they know folks who do.

– Steve Patterson


I would live at 4005 Delmar

February 26, 2010 North City, Public Transit 7 Comments
4005 Delmar
4005 Delmar

The vacant building at 4005 Delmar is an imposing structure, dwarfing neighboring buildings.

Boarded storefronts at sidewalk level
Boarded storefronts at sidewalk level

But the design is nearly perfect.  The aesthetics are certainly appealing but I’m talking about how it relates to the sidewalk.  Built in 1928, the building has 100 one-bedroom apartments, three larger apartments plus the storefronts.  It occupies a lot that is just 150ft wide by 145 ft deep.

I see a modern streetcar coming West along Olive out of downtown.  Just past Compton the streetcar would veer right to stay on Olive. For decades the streetcar did just this. At Vandeventer I would make a right turn to the North and then a left to head West on Delmar. The streetcar would pass directly in front of this building on the way to the Loop area further West on Delmar.

The modern streetcar would make the renovation of this building a feasible proposition.  I can’t think of anything else that could happen that would put this building back into use.  The vacant land in both directions along my proposed route would get redeveloped with new construction.

For years I’ve pictured myself living in this building and taking a streetcar East to Midtown and Downtown or West to the CWE or Loop.  The location is ideal.  This building is the ideal height for much of the city.  Our main corridors could be lined with similar 5-story buildings.  Many get all excited about high-rise towers making a statement on the skyline. Not me, this is far more exciting than any tower.

– Steve Patterson


Conservatives can support public transit on April 6th

ABOVE: Parsons Place East St. Louis
ABOVE: Residents of Parsons Place in East St. Louis can walk to MetroLink

Liberals do not hold a monopoly on supporting public transportation.   Thanks to a post on Sprawled Out I learned of an interview by Street Films with conservative author William S. Lind.  Some of his points include:

  • Auto dominance in the U.S. is not a free market outcome
  • Liberal transit advocates should not mention reduction of greenhouse gases when talking transit to conservatives
  • Libertarian anti-transit critics use wrong measurements
  • “When you tax one competitor and subsidize the other the subsidized competitor wins.”

Here is the video (3:21 minutes):


I often find myself agreeing with fiscal conservatives — and disagreeing with Libertarians.

“Conservatives And Public Transportation”Conservatives and Public Transportation” is a collection of studies originally published between 1997 and 2009 in booklet form by the American Public Transportation Association. The book includes a previously unpublished report on the activities of the National Surface Transportation Commission, appointed by Congress in 2005 to examine the infrastructure needs of this country. Weyrich served on the commission and wrote language that strongly supported public transportation for the commission’s final report. That language, which had been adopted on a 9-3 vote, was excised from the final report.The studies helped conservatives understand why transit should be an essential part of the conservative agenda: because it enhances national security, promotes economic development, helps maintain conservative values including a sense of community, and provides welfare recipients with access to jobs.”  (Reconnecting America)


“The Free Congress Foundation has established The Center for Public Transportation under a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to offer a re-balanced vision of the national transportation system in which rail and highway travel complements each other. Some journeys will always be more convenient by car. But Americans should be able to travel from any point in the country to any other point without using a car, if they so choose. They had that option as recently as the 1950s. By re-creating it, we can ensure that America is not held hostage by crises in the Middle East or other oil-producing areas.”  (Free Congress Foundation)

Conservative or liberal, there are reasons to support good mass transit.

-Steve Patterson