At the end of last month, the city announced that it would begin to restore MetroBus service, which was cut last year. While this is certainly a good step towards fixing what was a horrible mistake, more can still be done to enrich the Metro system within the St. Louis area, and Webster should play its part.
Webster students need to take the Metro system more.
With all the convenience of cars, it can be pretty easy to forget what an invaluable resource the Metro Transit system really is. Affordable public mass transportation is not something that should be quickly dismissed.
Having a public mode of transportation to fall-back on is a bigger asset than some students might realize. Knowing the city is always there to give you and your friends a ride home makes St. Louis a much friendlier place.
It also beats taking a car on many ideological levels. Not only is public transportation a good replacement for the carless, but it can hold its own as a better alternative to using a car. Spending a small amount of money on public transit is more economical than the money a car-owner spends on gas and upkeep. It is also more environmentally sound than one car to every one person. A fleet of public vehicles uses fewer materials than a mass of individual cars, and produces less pollution.
The Metro system isn’t perfect. In fact, compared to the public transit systems in many other cities, it is lacking and generally unimpressive. While it still gets the job done, the system does not link the city together as well as it might. Not only do some stops come infrequently, but stops have been cut-back in recent years.
As great as the promise of public transportation is, it falls short when it can’t get riders where they need to be.
Webster students are at a particular disadvantage, as its service to the Webster Groves area is sub-par. While Washington University, SLU and UMSL all have their own MetroLink stops, the closest station for Webster students is the Shrewsbury station, nearly two miles away from campus.
True, Webster Groves is connected via the Metro Bus system, but the bus system cut back. The routes are complicated and confusing to say the least. If the patrons utilized the Webster Groves services more, then more attention would be paid to the service in this area, which could help to improve things. While the existing system is an overlooked commodity, it could still be vastly improved. This is where increased ridership from students comes into play.
If people actually start using the MetroLink more, it could expand and become better, thereby making it more desirable to use. Increased usage will show law makers that the public is interested in having a dependable and useful public transit system, so service may be expanded instead of cut back.
There is also the obvious outcome that higher ticket sales will mean higher revenue which would hopefully be used for expansion. While the bus routes get the job done, having our own Metrolink station in closer proximity to campus would greatly increase ease and access to city destinations for students.
If Webster students were more frequent users of Metro Transit, Webster University would be more solidly linked with the city, which seems to be hovering outside of right now.
If MetroLink had a more visible presence, then St. Louis residents, including Webster students, would probably be more inclined to use public transportation. Everyone would benefit in the long run.