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MetroLink is St. Louis' light rail system. Two lines connect many of the major business sites, entertainment venues, medical centers and shopping in St. Louis and the Illinois metro area. One line runs from Lambert International Airport east to Scott Air Force Base, with stops at various points including UM-St. Louis, the Delmar Loop, Forest Park, Union Station and the Arch. The second connects suburban Shrewsbury to the Clayton business district, shopping centers, the Galleria mall as well as Washington University. Both lines meet at the Forest Park station. Several fare options are available. Full-day passes can be purchased for $7.50, and single fares are $2.25. Trains arrive approximately every 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the time of day, and run from approximately 4:30 am to midnight. For places that the MetroLink doesn’t serve, the MetroBus is available. Serving all parts of the St. Louis area, regular fares are $2.00 and there are similar pricing options to the MetroLink. Passes can be purchased at various vendors around town, including one at the airport. Depending on the route, busses run from about 6:00 am to midnight.
You can also purchase a MetroBus fare with a "Multi-Use Transfer" or a MetroLink ticket with a "2-hour pass" for $2.75. (The airport ticket fee includes a 2-hour pass.) A Multi-Use Transfer or a 2-hour pass both allow the holder to ride anywhere in any direction on the bus or train system for a period of two hours from when issued.
Seniors, children, and those with disabilities ride for approximately half price; HOWEVER, seniors and those with disabilities must present the new standardized Metro Reduced Fare Permit; no other forms of identification will be accepted. Proof of age may be requested for children aged 5-12; those younger than 5 ride free.
Exact fare is needed for the MetroBus. MetroLink tickets are purchased from machines located at each stop. The machines dispense change, albeit in one dollar coins, and will accept bills up to a $20 denomination.
Fares on the Metro Link are on the quasi-honor system. In other words, once you purchase your ticket you simply board the train; you needn't run it through any machine or give it to a ticket-taker. A single ticket is pre-validated for two hours. DO NOT, however, discard or misplace the ticket. You may be asked at any time to display it to a fare-checker who randomly boards the train at different stops. If you have no ticket, you'll get a court summons which'll result in a $50 fine. If you purchase advance tickets, you must validate each one at the time of use at any of the red validation machines located at the entrances to the platform.
(Note: Until January, 2009, there was a ride-free zone in the downtown area around the noon hour. Although this has been discontinued, there is still some erroneous literature being distributed. You can, however, still ride free between the main and east terminals of the airport.)
If you are going to any of the downtown hotels, Metrolink is a quick, inexpensive and convenient way to go. It costs $3.75 from the Airport (only $2.25 on the return trip) and takes about 35 minutes to get to the arch.
The website for St. Louis' bus and metro system can be found at www.metrostlouis.org. It's well organized and kept up to date. There is a "Tripfinder" link which advises the best way to get from any Point A to any Point B.