From 1925 to 1989, the No. 8 Bates Street bus trundled up and down that unglamorous south St. Louis street, just one of dozens of similar routes serving second-tier thoroughfares across the city. And like the rest it fell victim to the budget cutter's axe when Bi-State (now Metro) eliminated most of its smaller feeder lines in the late '80s. But the same remorseless grind of progress that killed the Bates bus brought it back from the big transit hub in the sky. With the opening of the cross-county MetroLink extension last year, the No. 8 started rolling again, mainly to feed south citians into the passenger-hungry Shrewsbury station. Why Bates? Maybe transit planners realized there weren't many east-west routes in that corner of town. Or maybe they just wanted to take the bus to El Burrito Loco's front door. Whatever the reason, no other bus line so perfectly embodies the ongoing revival of this city. If Bates can get its bus back, nothing is lost forever.