On April 10, 2023, Metro Call-A-Ride will make a significant change to its service area map. This is the first change to Call-A-Ride’s service area since 2016.
Trips that are currently eligible for Call-A-Ride service will no longer be eligible after April 10 if the start or end point of the trip is outside of the new service area boundaries. The Metro Call-A-Ride’s service area is defined as areas that are 3/4 of a mile around an existing MetroBus route or MetroLink service. The Metro Call-A-Ride service is only available when the bus route or train is in service.
A map of Metro Call-A-Ride’s new service area, along with other information and an online public comment form, can be found on the Metro website at metrostlouis.org/CARChanges.
According to Metro Transit, this change to the service area is important and necessary to improve overall paratransit service for Call-A-Ride customers while following federal guidelines. It will significantly reduce trips denials, reduce phone reservation wait times, improve customer service, and create a more reliable and convenient paratransit experience.
HOW DO I CHECK IF MY TRIPS ARE ELIGIBLE AFTER APRIL 10?
- Visit MetroStLouis.org/CARChanges for more information about the change to Metro Call-A-Ride service and a map of the new service area.
- Call 314.982.1505 to speak with a Metro Call-A-Ride representative who will work with you to check the eligibility of your trips within the new Metro Call-A-Ride service area, answer questions and provide additional information if needed.
Riders who may be impacted by these changes have options. Choices for those impacted are highlighted below:
- Via Metro STL – https://www.metrostlouis.org/via/ – on-demand service with wheelchair-accessible vehicles that operates in areas of North, West, Southwest and South St. Louis Counties
- MoRides – https://morides.org/ – an organization that maintains a database of providers and can help match you to a ride that meets your needs
- Ridefinders – https://ridefinders.org/ – an organization that helps connect people with available carpools and vanpools
- MO Healthnet (Medicaid) – https://www.mtm-inc.net/missouri/ – provides non-emergency medical transportation to eligible participants going to eligible medical appointments
While MetroBus service changes have been made multiple times since 2016, they were not made to Metro Call-A-Ride service at those times. Metro maintained the larger service area for Metro Call-A-Ride even though some trips were no longer technically required per federal requirements.
“Our goal was to shield customers from service reductions and provide paratransit service beyond federal requirements as long as Metro Call-A-Ride had the capacity to do so. Unfortunately, Metro Call-A-Ride no longer has the capacity to provide service beyond federal requirements. Due to a historic workforce shortage, Metro Call-A-Ride only has 60% of available operator positions filled, as well as shortfalls in their customer service and dispatch departments,” said Charles Stewart, Metro Transit Chief Operating Officer.
“Over the past several months, high demand coupled with the workforce shortage has resulted in thousands of Call-A-Ride trips that are denied each month as we are unable to fulfill them. Customers are also experiencing excessively long wait times when attempting to schedule a trip. It is no longer possible to maintain the current service area and serve customers effectively. By making this change to Metro Call-A-Ride’s service area, we will be able to significantly reduce trip denials, improve customer service and phone wait times, and ensure that everyone who is eligible for Metro Call-A-Ride service per federal requirements has a stronger, more reliable transit experience,” added Stewart.
To address trip denials, long wait times and other issues with Metro Call-A-Ride service Metro Transit has undertaken a number of steps over the past several months:
- Implemented a recruitment and retention campaign for operators
- Increased recruitment of office and clerical staff, and introducing new part-time positions for reservationists and dispatchers to cover periods of heavy volume
- Launch of the ADA On The Way Program, which provides ADA customers with unlimited free rides on MetroLink and MetroBus, to encourage more people to use the fixed route system instead of Metro Call-A-Ride
- No longer fulfilling Medicaid-funded trips for riders who are not ADA-eligible
- Pausing any new pre-booking of trips or changes to current pre-booked trips
For more information, visit Metro website at metrostlouis.org/CARChanges.