Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

TAC learns of SMTS deviated fixed-route possibility for Phelps, Dent counties

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Anne Freand or Caitlin Jones

ST. JAMES—The Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), meeting June 10 at MRPC, was updated on the progress of a Southeast Missouri Transportation System (SMTS) feasibility study that could lead to a deviated fixed-route in Rolla with connections to St. James and Salem. 

SMTS has contracted with MRPC to conduct the feasibility study for the potential new route. A fixed route bus system is characterized by a designated travel route with set schedules and stops where passengers can board and deboard. A deviated fixed-route allows for pick-ups within ¼ mile of fixed stops. This bus service would be modeled after the Bluff Area Transit Service (BATS) in Poplar Bluff and the Connect Service in St. Francois County, both of which are operated by SMTS. Both systems have fees ranging from $1 per boarding, $3 all-day passes, as well as pre-paid punch cards with discounted prices. While the Rolla service would not be identical to BATS or Connect in the number of stops or pricing, it will likely operate very similar, if such a service is found to be feasible. The study is also looking at connector routes from Salem to Rolla and from St. James to Rolla.

“With the problems employers are facing, this could solve some problems,” MRPC Executive Director Bonnie Prigge said during the meeting. “If transportation is a barrier, this could hopefully reduce that barrier.” 

Currently, MRPC is accepting public input on the possible route and stops from Phelps and Dent counties via two online surveys that can be found at www.meramecregion.org/surveys/. One survey is for the general public, and the other is for students in the Rolla area.

For more information, please contact Anne Freand, MRPC planning department manager, via email at afreand@meramecregion.org or via phone at 573-265-2993 ext. 105.

Additionally, during the meeting:

  • Freand gave an update on the road safety audit that will take place at Route E and Robart Road in Washington County to be completed by June 30. The road safety audit will look for low-cost solutions to the issues plaguing the intersection that can be handled by MoDOT or locals;
  • Steve Englebrecht with MoDOT gave an update on the 2022-26 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which will be presented to the Missouri Highway Commission on July 1;
  • Heard a report from MRPC Executive Director Bonnie Prigge on the number of fatalities in the region. The state is seeing an increase in fatalities when compared to 2020. As of June 6, 365 people had lost their lives on Missouri roadways, compared to 351 for the same time period in 2020. Fourteen of those fatalities in 2021 were in the Meramec Region. Statewide in 2021, 72 percent of the fatalities were not wearing seatbelts. Prigge has ‘Buckle Up, Phone Down’ signs for anyone who would like to install one on a parking lot; and 
  • A nominating committee was formed to recommend a slate of officers for the TAC to consider at its August meeting.

Persons needing more information on MRPC’s Transportation Advisory Committee may contact MRPC at (573) 265-2993. The group will meet again at 4 p.m. April 8 at MRPC, 4 Industrial Dr., St. James. Meetings are open to the public. George Lauritson, mayor of St. Robert, chairs the TAC.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 34 offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.