Larry Salci
Consulting Services
Friday, February 23, 2024
Metro St. Louis-Metro Redefined-Improve Bus System Facilities and Performance
President & CEO, St. Louis Metro 2002-2008

Prior to my arrival as CEO in February 2002, St. Louis Metro suffered significant operational and performance problems, that were manifest in poor service delivery, poor on-time performance, marginal vehicle reliability, excessive employee absenteeism, high customer complaints, poor employee morale, and significant loss of system ridership due to a $10 million bus service cut in 2001, even though the region had doubled the miles of the light rail system in 2001 and were constructing 10 additional miles of light rail service due to open in 2005. The light rail expansion would add an additional $15 million in operating costs. The region’s political leadership had no plans or commitment for a new tax initiative required to sustain existing transit operations, let alone support the light rail expansion. This was a financial time bomb ticking.

Under my leadership the Metro Redefined Plan was developed and the new Metro senior management team did an excellent job of execution of the Plan resulting in balanced budgets, service and ridership improvements through FY-2008, all financed internally (no new taxes) by cost savings and significant increases in customer revenue from fare and ridership increases. This Plan reversed the decline of the bus system and improved system connectivity. However, after my departure in January 2008 Metro cut $40 million of transit service in 2009 due to the failure to pass a new transit tax in November 2008. The key bus elements of the successful Metro Redefined Plan were as follows:

1. Implementation of Multi-Centered Hub Based Network and Construction of Six New Bus Facilities to Improve Connectivity:
  • Gravois/Hampton -2002, Ballas Road-2003, North Broadway/Taylor -2004, 14th & Spruce multi-modal-2004, Clayton,-2004, Riverview-2006
2. Operations & Planning completely reviewed all 88 bus routes and made major timetable and headway modifications to improve connectivity for bus to bus transfer and bus to rail transfer

3. New Vehicle Maintenance Plan
  • Reduced Spare Parts usage from $12M to $8M annually
  • Reorganized Central Maintenance Facility for Workflow and Productivity
  • 2003 Implemented automated BOM, work order and inspection maintenance program
  • Increased revenue miles between road calls from 8,000 (industry std.) to 17,000-result vehicle reliability
4. Bus On-Time Performance Increased from 80% to 93%

"I was Chair of Metro in St. Louis and led the search team that hired Larry Salci. He came into an organization that was in management trouble, financial trouble and operational trouble. In less than two years he assembled a superior management team (many of whom remain to this day), developed a financial plan that avoided almost immediate financial crisis and attendant substantial reduction/elimination of services and assured continued operation of Metro for a five year period during which additional tax support needed to be secured, and brought a highly criticized transit service to one of the top rated public transit systems in the country for on-time service and customer satisfaction. At the same time he oversaw the completion of our Cross County light rail expansion and the creation of bus transfer centers that resulted in a highly efficient, cost effective, on-time transit operation. Larry’s ability to hire and retain top management in technology, engineering, operations and scheduling, combined with his special skills in complex transit financing programs, made him a leader without equal in the industry. There are few who are gifted chief operating officers and there are those who are great chief financial officers but it is the rare CEO who combines both such talents. Larry Salci is that CEO".

Harvey Harris
Chairman, Stolar Partnership
St. Louis