By Ashley Westbrook
Andrea Jackson, a senior math major at Webster University, has been taking the bus to Webster since 2007. Jackson said she gets to the bus stop at 6:26 a.m. to be on time for her class at 9 a.m.
“I have to get my daughter to school by 9 a.m., so I have to wake up at 4:30 a.m.,” Jackson said.
Jackson uses a semester-long pass to ride the bus. The front desk at the University Center sells semester passes for a one-time fee of $145.
“Another student that went to Webster told me that they sell passes. At first I was using the machine to buy a two week pass for $19,” Jackson said.
Jennifer Violett, the assistant director of the UC, said an average of 30 passes are sold every semester. The university has already sold out of passes this semester.
“We usually get a rush on the first day of graduate classes,” Violett said. “Part of the challenge with the passes is that we have to purchase them outright. So, we buy a limited amount.”
The passes can be used throughout the city of St. Louis but expire on May 22.
“I think it’s a good program,” Violett said. “The benefit that helps is that they can purchase it from us and charge it to their student account.”
The passes are available before the semester starts and can be purchased anytime.
Angelia Fletcher-Mabry, the manager of communications at MetroBus, is pleased with the amount of students who use the bus.
“Students make up an important percentage of individuals who use Metro,” Fletche-Mabry said. “In our research, getting to school is the second-most popular destination for commuters who ride Metro.”
The No. 56 Kirkwood-Webster bus route services the Shrewsbury MetroLink Station, Webster, the Kirkwood Amtrak Station and St. Louis Community College-Meramec. The eastbound route starts at Meramec at 5:09 a.m.. The westbound begins at Shrewsbury Metrolink Station 5:40 a.m.. The route is only available Monday through Saturday.
The No. 56 Kirkwood-Webster wasn’t always in service. The route faced increased fares for riders and the line was cut in March 2009. After the ratification of Proposition A, a half-cent sales tax in St. Louis County, the line was restored.
“Public transit provides an affordable, cost-efficient alternative to driving,” Fletcher-Mabry said. “Households that are likely to use public transit on a given day can save up to $9,000 every year.”
In August 2010, Metro began its 2010 Service Restoration, which included enhancing service on the No. 56 Kirkwood-Webster.
MetroBus faces the same problems as commuters, such as weather conditions and traffic rushes, so catching an early bus is advised.
“It takes about one hour and a half to get to school,” Jackson said. “If there are weather conditions it will take about two and a half hours. Also, busses may run late or the handicap ramp may run into a problem.”
Other MetroBus routes suffered cuts or decreases in the amount of stops they make, but the No. 56 Kirkwood-Webster still rolls on, enabling Webster students to get to campus on public transportation.