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Buses, carpooling services provide alternate options for metro-east commuters

From left, Clint Dougherty and SJ Morrison discussed the services of Madison County Transit and RideFinders Thursday with host Don Marsh.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
From left, Clint Dougherty and SJ Morrison discussed the services of Madison County Transit and RideFinders Thursday with host Don Marsh.

For many morning commuters, the Martin Luther King Bridge served as their connection to St. Louis from the metro-east; however, as of Aug. 27, the bridge is closed for 12 months.

“There are about 13,000 commuters who use the MLK Bridge to get to downtown St. Louis every day to work,” SJ Morrison said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Host Don Marsh discussed alternate modes of transportation for metro-east commuters in light of the closure with Morrison, director of marketing and planning for Madison County Transit and RideFinders, along with Clint Dougherty, a resident of Glen Carbon and MCT commuter.

According to Morrison, with one bridge out of commission, the Poplar Street Bridge as well as the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge are receiving the overflow of commuters.

“What we’re encouraging folks to do is take advantage of our MCT Express Service,” Morrison said. “We offer literally 31 trips from 16 communities in Madison County over to downtown St. Louis and 34 trips back.”

Dougherty, who has rode the bus to work for nine years, said on the first day the bridge closed, his normal commute took about 30 minutes longer.

“I think people were adjusting and trying to figure out what their new routes were going to be,” Dougherty said.

MCT also works closely with the Metro system of St. Louis and St. Clair County.

“We accept all of the Metro fare products for full fare on our vehicles,” Morrison said. “We also have transfer points at MetroLink stations … because many of our express passengers are going to points farther west … so they can have a seamless connection from bus to train via MetroLink.”

In addition to bus services, MCT provides RideFinders, which is a free carpool service for the nine-county St. Louis region.

“From Fenton to Fairview, Maplewood to Maryville and everywhere in between we serve,” Morrison said.

Morrison added that some are hesitant to carpool due to the worry of not having a ride home; however, he said RideFinders guarantees four rides home per year through a voucher for a taxi.

“We have 16,000 commuters in our database [for RideFinders] already,” Morrison said.

According to Dougherty, using public transportation frees up his time he would spend driving to do other activities such as reading or doing his finances.

“I got a new son at home who’s three months old, so sometimes that bus time is the time I get to go through the emails or get some of the financial things in order,” Dougherty said.

For more information about MCT Express Service or RideFinders, go to sharetheridestl.org.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Caitlin Lally give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Caitlin Lally is thrilled to join St. Louis Public Radio as the summer production intern for "St. Louis on the Air." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Caitlin also freelances for area publications like Sauce Magazine and the Belleville News-Democrat. In her career, she's covered topics such as Trump's travel ban, political protests and community activism. When she's not producing audio segments or transcribing interviews, Caitlin enjoys practicing yoga, seeing live music, and cooking plant-based meals.
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