Ridership On St. Louis Public Transit Plummets As The System Expands

Serious crime has been a factor, as well as a stagnant population and the low cost of driving to work in the area. Metro Transit says riders have become frustrated with panhandlers, smokers, fare evaders and disruptive passengers.

Ridership on St. Louis' public transit is plummeting as the light-rail system moves toward its first expansion in more than a decade.

MetroLink and buses have seen a 20 percent drop in passengers over the last five years. Metro Transit has been assessing how to reverse the trend as local officials pursue a new north-south line.

Jessica Mefford-Miller is executive director of Metro Transit. She says serious crime has been a factor, as well as a stagnant population and the low cost of driving to work in the area.

Mefford-Miller says riders have become frustrated with panhandlers, smokers, fare evaders and disruptive passengers.

Mefford-Miller aims to stabilize and eventually increase ridership by ensuring police and security are visible on trains and interacting with riders.

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