Metro-East News

Redbird Express buses canceled for second night Tuesday amid driver uncertainty

Redbird Express canceled

St. Louis Cardinals fans in Illinois were disappointed and frustrated after the Redbird Express, a bus shuttle that takes riders to Busch Stadium from the Fairview Heights mall, was canceled.
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St. Louis Cardinals fans in Illinois were disappointed and frustrated after the Redbird Express, a bus shuttle that takes riders to Busch Stadium from the Fairview Heights mall, was canceled.

St. Louis Cardinals fans who planned to take the Redbird Express to Busch Stadium on Tuesday will need an alternate plan.

For the second night in a row, the Redbird Express has been canceled, according to the St. Clair County Transit District.

Metro, however, announced that regular bus and light-rail service was operating as normal and on schedule.

“At this time, (we’re) only suspending service for tonight’s game,” transit district board Chairman Herb Simmons said in a news release. “Many of the Redbird Express riders travel long distances for use of the Red Bird Service. These loyal customers need to be able to reliably count on buses being able to get them to the game on time and back to St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights in a timely manner. For those customers who purchased bus fare using the Token Transit Application, full refunds of fares will be issued.”

Transit District Managing Director Ken Sharkey said the decision by the district was a proactive move because of uncertainty about whether there were would be enough drivers to run the service on Tuesday.

The district wanted people to know well ahead of time.

The Redbird Express is a shuttle service taking Cardinals fans from St. Clair Square to Busch Stadium throughout the evening and brings fans back after the game.

Tuesday’s cancellation follows Monday’s cancellation of the service because of ongoing staffing issues at MetroBus. MetroLink and MetroBus services have been delayed several days in recent weeks due to a high number of drivers taking off or declining to work extra shifts. Staffing shortages have taken place amid contract negotiations between Metro and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 788. Drivers have been working without a contract since June.

Bi-State Development and the union representing MetroBus drivers and MetroLink train operators have been negotiating for a new contract. There has been disagreement over the length of the deal.

Joseph Bustos is the state affairs and politics reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, where he strives to hold elected officials accountable and provide context to decisions they make. He has won multiple awards from the Illinois Press Association for coverage of sales tax referenda.
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