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Metro, city agree on trash collection at bus stops

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – The regional transit agency Metro will be deploying trash cans at about 500 bus stops in St. Louis under an agreement Metro signed Thursday with the city.

The city streets department will bill Metro for the purchase of the cans, and for a two-man team to maintain them. That team will cost Metro about $100,000 a year.

Metro and City Hall have gone back and forth for years about who is responsible for trash at the bus stops. They are on city streets, but Metro gets a permit to operate them. But, said Metro vice president of government affairs Adella Jones, the disagreement was never about assigning blame.

"It was a complication of short dollars and service increases or just trying to deliver service that you had," she said. "So on the other side of that, you're able to look at a better cooperative way to solve the problem." Metro will fund the trash agreement with some of the additional sales tax revenue generated by the April passage of Proposition A.

The deal, however, wasn't enough for Alderwoman Jennifer Florida, who introduced legislation in June providing for the purchase of a thousand trash cans and for three teams to maintain them. That would cover about half of the city's bus stops.

The city has to clean up if it wants the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Florida said.

"People are just not going to understand why our bus stops are so trashy. It's about presentation, it's about the environment, I think it's about being good stewards," she said.

Florida said she will push for her legislation when aldermen return from a summer break. It's not clear what would happen to the agreement if her bill is approved and signed by the mayor.