St Louis Public Transportation

Each year in the St. Louis area, 53 million rides are taken on public transportation routes managed by Metro, the regional transit authority. Metro offers several transportation options that make it easy to get around the metropolitan area without a car, including MetroBus, MetroLink, and Metro Call-A-Ride. These three services provide access to 200 municipalities within the jurisdiction of the Metro authority.

The most expansive service of Metro is the bus system. MetroBus operates more than 400 bus vehicles on 75 routes throughout the St. Louis region. The bus system is in operation nearly 24 hours a day, but check individual schedules (see links at end of article) before you plan to board a bus. The basic adult fare for a bus ride is $2, with a $1 discount rate for seniors, children, and disabled passengers. A transfer ticket, which allows transfer to MetroLink, is $2.75 for adults and $1.35 at the discount rate.

All MetroBus routes are designed and oriented to feed passengers into the MetroLink light rail system, so the routing and timing will make it convenient to transfer from bus to light rail. In addition, about 9,000 parking spaces are available at 18 park-and-ride locations at MetroLink stations, so it is easy to drive to the train stations. If you are a biker, all MetroBuses have bike racks on the front of the bus, which are available to use free of charge. When you get off, make sure you let the bus driver know that you will be removing your bike.

St. Louis also has a network of light rail trains. With 37 stations spanning almost fifty miles, MetroLink is the ninth longest light rail system in the country. Almost 70,000 daily rides are recorded, so it is also the ninth busiest rail system in the nation. The system is in operation from around 4:00 AM to 12:30 AM. A single-ride ticket is $2.25 for adults, $1.10 discounted, and a two-hour pass is available for $2.75 or $1.35. if you will be using transit for extended periods, one-day, weekly, and monthly passes are available. All ticket types can be purchased at electronic kiosks at each station.

Two major rail lines, red and blue, make up the MetroLink system. The Red Line Starts at Lambert Airport, passes through the University of Missouri St. Louis and the inner city, and continues into Illinois to the Shiloh-Scott Air Force Base. The Blue Line starts at Shrewsbury and passes through Clayton before converging with the Red Line at Forest Park to pass through the inner city. Inner city stops include the Central West End, Union Station, the Civic Center, Busch Stadium, the Business District, the Convention Center, and Laclede’s Landing entertainment district near the Gateway Arch. These stations service most tourist and cultural attractions in central St. Louis. The blue line ends at Fairview Heights, Illinois. All stations are listed on Google Maps, so you can use to find information about individual stations.

Finally, for disabled persons who have no access to MetroBus or MetroLink routes, Metro Call-A-Ride is a paratransit van service that will take riders from curb-to-curb, meaning it is like a taxi service. About 2,500 people use this each day. Rides must be scheduled by phone one to seven days in advance. Use the Call-A-Ride map to find the reservation phone number for your area and determine the pricing based on the number of zones you will travel through.

Interestingly, St. Louis Metro also operates several transportation options around the Gateway Arch in Downtown St. Louis. The infamous pod-shaped trams that carry passengers to the top of the Arch are overseen by Metro, as well as the ticketing offices and parking facilities. Less well-known are the Gateway Arch River Cruises, offering dinner cruises and charter boats on the Mississippi River.

For assistance in planning your trip on Metro’s public transit system, visit their handy TripFinder application. Enter your starting point, your destination, and your departure time, and the TripFinder will automatically plan your journey. Sometimes multiple routes are available, so the application will allow you to choose the one that is most convenient or fastest. It shows you how much walking and transferring will be involved. Advanced Search will allow you to set your maximum walking distances, maximum number of transfers, and other options.

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, the Metro authority of the bi-state St. Louis Metropolitan Area has ensured that you will be able to get around St. Louis without a private vehicle, and they’ve tried to make their system easy to understand with applications like the TripFinder. The network of light rail and bus routes will take you to office centers, shopping paradises, and tourist hotspots. Get rid of the keys and ride Metro!

St. Louis Metro System At A Glance:

Began operation: 1949

Annual System Ridership: 53 Million

Systemwide Parking Spaces: 11,669


Bus Routes: 75

Bus fleet: 413 vehicles


Light Rail Lines: 2

Light Rail Stations: 37

Miles of track: 46

Rail fleet: 87 vehicles

Helpful Links:

Bus Routes


Complete Fare Chart

System Maps

Park and Ride