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Metro set to open an expanded downtown transit center

Metro's newly-renovated downtown transit center will include round-the-clock security inside the new commuter waiting area.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Safety improvements and better bus access are some of the key components of the newly-renovated Civic Center Transit facility across from Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis.

Metro is taking the wraps off the $10.5 million project this week. The center had been home to nine MetroBus bays for a total of 16 routes. The renovation increases the number of buses that will converge at 14th and Spruce.

"18 total bays, 23 bus routes. The opportunity for para-transit - the Call-A-Ride vans- to come in and out," Metro Executive Director Ray Friem told St. Louis Public Radio.

"And for the first time, all of our passengers won't have to leave the confines of this facility to make a transfer from bus to rail or bus-to-bus."

The design also includes modification plans for larger and electric buses, which are expected in the future.

An indoor waiting area, digital information screens and a place for commuters to pick up a snack are all part of the transit facility's expansion.

And while Metro is quick to highlight all the improvements, safety considerations have been a priority throughout the planning and construction process. That includes making it easier for people transferring from the rail lines to bus routes.

"There were buses parked all up and down 14th Street, down even by City Hall. And people would come up from MetroLink and you would see them just rushing out into traffic," Friem said.

"That was a huge safety concern for us. So, we wanted to address that with this facility. We've accomplished that."

The center includes a more direct path to link rail commuters to Scottrade Center and a clear view for security workers.
Credit Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio
The center includes a more direct path to link rail commuters to Scottrade Center and a clear view for security workers.

The expansion also means all buses that serve downtown St. Louis will connect at the center.  

Construction started roughly 15 months ago with the federal government picking up 80 percent of the cost.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Thursday and a public open house will be held on Friday. Metro says bus service at the center, which had been moved during construction, should resume on Monday.

Follow Wayne on Twitter: @WayneRadio

Wayne Pratt is the Broadcast Operations Manager and former morning newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.