Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Riders Pack Metrolink on First Workday

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Riders Pack Metrolink on First Workday

Article excerpt

MetroLink cars were mostly full Monday morning and late afternoon for the system's first rush hours. But they were full to bursting in the usually off-peak hours in the middle of the day.

Officials from Bi-State Transit, which runs the trains, said they didn't know how many of Monday's riders would return today, the first day when fares will be charged.

MetroLink's opening day was Saturday, and through Monday the trains were free. Bi-State bus rides were also free Monday everywhere in the Metro area except St. Clair County.

Bi-State counted about 4,200 passengers boarding trains during the morning rush hour, from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. Monday. But nearly 27,000 passengers rode the trains from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to the counts.

Tom Sturgess, spokesman for Bi-State, said most of the off-peak passengers appeared to be sightseers, perhaps an overflow from -MetroLink's grand opening last weekend. The rail system had 67,000 riders Saturday, 50,000 Sunday and expected about 40,000 by the end of Monday.

MetroLink picked up some passengers because of closed bridges in the area, Sturgess said. Flooding problems closed three of four bridges over the Missouri River between St. Louis and St. Charles counties and two of four over the Mississippi between Missouri and Illinois.

To take the overflow from traffic-choked St. Charles County, Bi-State ran four extra bus trips in the morning and afternoon rush hours on the St. Charles Limited route, from Mid-Rivers Mall to the North Hanley Station, MetroLink's western terminus.

Sturgess had no passenger counts but said the extra buses had been pretty full. …

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