CMT MetroLink Monitors watch over MetroLink system throughout the year

Aug 19, 2014 pic 1CMT’s MetroLink Monitor volunteers gathered for their annual meeting  to review their report findings from the year and to discuss Metro operations with Ray Friem, Metro’s Chief Operating Officer.

CMT’s MetroLink Monitor having been ‘watching and reviewing’ the St.  Louis light rail system for 12 years.  Volunteers visit MetroLink Stations throughout the region and assess how things are working.  They check the cleanliness and maitenance of the station, security, and much more.

Observations for the 2013 -2014 report included improvement of the East Riverfront and Forest Park MetroLink stations ; signage at the stations continues to be outdated (on the Missouri side more than the Illinois side), and Laclede’s Landing and Belleville Stations consistently lacked security.

Aug 19, 2014 pic 4Mr. Friem then had the opportunity to respond and provided insights into the realities and challenges of operating the Metro system in St. Louis.

  • When talking about security, Friem indicated complaints about security on the system are down 36% this year over last year.
  • Smart Cards will significantly decrease counterfeit transfers because each person will have to swipe their card each time they use the system.  The card will automatically track the travel and deduct money only after a fare expires.  Also, whenever someone swipes their smartcard, the ticket machines will light up with a light that signals whether or not they have paid for the trip.  These lights will be monitored through video surveillance to help track fare abusers and places where foot surveillance is needed.
  • Metro continues to operate on a thin budget with federal monies dwindling, the state of Missouri provides little to no funding for transit, and the sales tax does not increase with inflation.  In light of the tightening budget and inability to grow and expand service, Ray focuses on finding ways to increase efficiencies.  He did indicate while fare revenue is not going up with inflation, it is rising with increased ridership on the system.
  • Metro is also testing out applications for their transit service.  They did a soft roll out of a bus tracking system this year, but they are working toward an application that will be able to tell users where both buses and trains are at on the alignment.

To report your findings about a station in the area, use the following webpage and we will incorporate your feedback into our reports to Metro.  You can give your feedback here – http://cmt-stl.org/programs/metrolink-monitor-program/.