Traffic has been always a problem when visiting Forest Park. On weekends in particular it has always been at its worst, especially after Memorial Day or during the Summer. Parking is often hard to come by and getting around the park is sometimes a big hassle. St. Louis Metro introduced the Forest Park trolley in the Summer of 2011 as a way to alternatively allow visitors to take in the sights all around the park. The number three route, which is the number assigned to the trolley route, begins at the Forest Park Metrolink station. The route covers all of the attractions within the park, starting with the Missouri History Museum, then off to the St. Louis Art Museum, the STL Zoo, the Jewel Box, all the way to the St. Louis Science Center. Along the way visitors can just sit and relax and view the many fountains, lakes, and architecture within the park. This option allows visitors to park their car at home and ride transit or just park the car in a parking spot within the park and enjoy the sights via bus.
The service hours and time is as follows:
- 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., daily, April 8 through September 29 and weekends only in October. Weekday service will be every 20 minutes with more frequency on weekends.
The trolley fares are $2 per adult. Children 5-12, seniors and disabled passengers ride for $1. Metro day, weekly, and monthly pass holders may use their passes to ride the trolley too.
In 2011 season, the trolley begin with the use of 4 2001 21xx series Gillig Phantoms 30 foot buses. The first year was successful with ridership exceeding Metro’s expectations. In the 2012 season, Metro switch to 4 2008 35xx series Gillig Low Floor 35 foot buses. In 2012, Metro may have increased capacity on the #3 trolley, but it was also during the time when Metro was gradually phasing out the 30 footers in favor of 35 foot buses on its fixed route services. Metro saw the cost of operating a 30 foot and a 35 foot bus to be equally the same.
The 2011 season premiere saw 2001 21xx series Gillig Phantom 30 footers on the #3 Forest Park Trolley route.
Since the trolley covers the various attractions in the park, the theme for the vinyl wraps is to represent a person or thing you may see at one of these attractions. The picture of Amelia Earhart represents the MO History Museum, for example. The T-Rex obviously represents with the St. Louis Science Center, while the elephant and giraffe matches with the zoo. New for the 2012 season, the Forest Park trolley switched to larger 35 foot buses and saw a new vinyl passenger added, Vincent Van Gogh, which represents the St. Louis Art Museum.
The 2012 season 2008 35xx series Gillig Low Floor 35 footers on the #3 Forest Park Trolley route.
For the 2014 season, the trolley was updated again. Now using 4 2012 66xx series Gillig Low Floor 35 footers and a design change to the vinyl wraps. After years of customers concerns of not being able to see outside the trolleys, Metro had updated the wrap so passengers can now enjoy viewing the sights in park from the windows inside the bus. Yes, the T-Rex and his friends are still present on the bus!
The 2014 season 2012 66xx series Gillig Low Floor 35 footers on the #3 Forest Park Trolley route.
Metro is always listening to customer feedback and will make changes when needed. We’ll see what Metro has in store for the 2015 season. I am definitely looking forward to it!