Metro revamps Green Line, cutting stops and frequency

| Senior Editor

Metro, the St. Louis area public transportation operator, implemented changes to the Green Line, Sept. 30.

The company replaced the smaller, van-like buses the route had used in the past with full-length buses and removed stops from the route as part of a redesign of its region-wide bus network, according to the Office of Sustainability website.

These changes come amid a recent spate of crimes  in the neighborhoods north and east of campus and the University doubling down on its refusal to bring back the subsidized Uber program. 

For years, the Green Line connected the Danforth Campus to residential and commercial areas on the Delmar Loop, and the bus has served as a key mode of transportation for students who live in off-campus housing north of campus. Now, the bus no longer stops at the University-owned Greenway Apartments on Washington Avenue or at Anheuser-Busch Hall at the Washington University School of Law, maps on the Metro and the Office of Sustainability websites confirmed.

In addition, according to schedules on the Metro website, the bus now runs every 30 minutes, instead of the previous frequent headways. Previously, the buses, which were Call-a-Ride buses instead of full-size Metro buses, ran every five minutes during peak times, the fall 2018 schedules show .

Although students acknowledged the rationale behind the changes, they still expressed disappointment.

“I’ve heard that a lot of people are disappointed that the bus no longer serves the Greenway Apartments stop, because you used to be able to ride the bus from across the street from Greenway and back, and you can’t do that anymore,” senior Noah Hagen, an Alternative Transportation Associate at the Office of Sustainability, said.

Hagen said that he appreciated that the new buses solved the problem of riders being left behind when the older, smaller buses were too full, but that the new schedules and skipped stops were an inconvenience.

Metro Reimagined, a project focused on redesigning the St Louis-area bus network, prompted these changes.

“We’ve had to take those existing resources and dollars and buses and bus operators and create a new network plan that puts those buses and bus operators to their best purpose, trying to maximize ridership and deliver an improved customer experience,” Jessica Mefford-Miller, executive director of Metro Transit, told St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air” podcast in July.

Numerous bus lines lost stops as part of this network redesign, which Metro intended to straighten routes and improve bus speeds.

“As we try and keep those big buses on the main lines, on our main arterial streets, we’re going to stop going through some smaller, residential areas,” Mefford-Miller said in July.

The stops at the Greenway and Washington University School of Law did not make the cut.

“Having the Green Line was something that was of great privilege and really convenient for students,” sophomore Victoria Xu said.

She used to use the bus to commute to St. Mary’s Hospital, where she volunteers. Now, she will have to transfer to a second bus instead of having a one-seat ride, she said. “Without [the old Green line], there are some more added levels of complexity that I hope won’t turn people off of public transportation.”

Junior Jake Muilenberg uses the bus to commute to his apartment on Cates Avenue, north of the Delmar Loop.

“I like the bigger bus, but I don’t like that it only comes every half an hour,” Muilenburg said.

 

 

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