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Posts Tagged ‘buses’

Got questions about the new bus routes?

You can get answers, in person, from a Metro staffer. From the inbox: METRO makes it easy for riders to learn more about the New Bus Network through a series of customer information sessions being held across the METRO service area: On-hand staff can provide trip planning assistance and answer specific rider questions on the […]

The future of Fort Bend transit

Public transportation in Fort Bend County has grown quite a bit since its inception, and there’s a lot of potential for future growth if the pieces can be put into place. On Tuesday, county leaders, staff and transit partners gathered in Richmond to celebrate the rapid evolution of the Fort Bend Public Transportation Department since […]

Preview your bus route change

From Write On Metro: The New Bus Network is designed to make our service better and more convenient for you. Before it debuts on Aug. 16, you can get a preview of exactly how your new route will be changed. Simply go to the Dual Trip Planner. Type in your starting and ending addresses. There […]

More on Houston’s transit deserts

James Llamas writes a guest post at the Kinder Institute blog about their earlier article on transit deserts in Houston. As a planner at Traffic Engineers, Inc. I had the privilege of working with METRO staff and industry experts on the reimagining plan. The project has received quite a bit of attention around the country, […]

Yes, the new rail lines are off to a slower-than-hoped start

Let’s not panic. Our own history shows that early rail ridership numbers are often highly variable. Slightly more than a month after the Metropolitan Transit Authority christened two new rail lines – built at a cost of $1.4 billion and seen by critics as little more than an unnecessary and expensive replacement for buses – […]

Metro and your smartphone

Nice. As Metropolitan Transit Authority officials planned for the new system – which will affect practically every bus ride in the region – they have also focused on offering new services. One of those, a system that allows bus riders to text a code listed at each bus stop and receive a reply with the […]

Houston’s transit deserts

From the Kinder Institute’s Urban Edge blog: A new study suggests that despite METRO’s launch of several highly-touted and publicized improvements, the agency is still struggling to address the needs of some communities that depend heavily on transit. With operations beginning on METRO’s two new light rail lines and the reimagined bus system set to […]

I got those reverse commuting blues

The Woodlands is growing as en employment center, which means it is also seeing a lot more traffic in what used to be the reverse commute direction. There is no longer a simple drive to this onetime bedroom community, which has turned into an economic powerhouse and upended the flow of traffic in the process. […]

How would you get from Houston to Galveston without a car?

It’s both easier and harder than you might think. Raj Mankad tells the story. I reached the sea without getting in a car. Over the course of my journey, which began at Rice University and ended at Stewart Beach, I took one light rail train, four buses, and walked about three miles. Every three or […]

System reimagining is going to be hard

Because change is hard. It always is. Transit officials might have reimaginged bus service in the Houston area, but the riders who rely on it for daily trips are asking them to rethink it again. Since the redesigned bus system was approved in February, concerned riders have appeared at every Metropolitan Transit Authority board meeting […]

You can still ask Metro to make changes to their new bus routes

Chris Andrews highlights a little Metro-related activism going on in my neighborhood. Residents in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston have initiated a petition to modify the proposed 30 bus route. Currently, the neighborhood is serviced by the 40 Pecore route. When METRO’s System Reimagining was proposed in early 2015, the 30 Clinton / Ella […]

The Chron on how Metro and Culberson came to an accord

Read all about it. Houston’s buses don’t run at 2 a.m., but that’s when Metro and U.S. Rep. John Culberson began to see real movement toward a deal to improve area transit service. “We got really intense one night and literally worked line-by-line,” Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman Gilbert Garcia said last week, explaining how months […]

What next for Metro now that peace with Culberson has broken out?

We’ve all had a chance to read over and digest the agreement Metro struck with Rep. John Culberson now. It looked good to me up front (though not to everyone – more on that in a bit), but as always with something this involved, there are many questions. What do some of these items mean, […]

The Mayoral candidates and public transportation

It’s a start. When it comes to traffic, Houstonians and their mayoral candidates agree: The city is gridlocked and only getting worse. Judging by the candidates’ fledgling campaign platforms, many of which mention traffic as a top concern, road improvements are the answer. Houston-area residents, however, beg to differ. So says the Kinder Institute’s recent […]

Bikes now allowed on light rail all day

Some good news from the inbox: METRORail is opening its doors to bikes during all regular service hours just in time for Houston’s Bike to Work Day observance, Friday, May 15, 2015. The new hours are made possible with the introduction of a new fleet of rail cars for METRORail’s Green/East End and Purple/Southeast Lines […]

One hundred days till the new bus network

And counting down. Metro on Friday began the 100-day countdown to sweeping changes in local bus service, conceding that months of work ultimately will be judged by the level of confusion – small or large – that happens Aug. 16, and its effects on riders left with longer trips. “We cannot miss this mark, and […]

System reimagining will be mostly better for most

But not quite all better for all. Metro staff analyzed 452 hypothetical trips along the new [bus] network, most in low-income and minority areas. The standard for disproportionately affecting a trip is that trip taking 15 minutes longer than under current conditions. By the standard, 8 percent of the trips involving minorities and 6 percent […]

An Uptown BRT skeptic

Here’s one guy who doesn’t like the idea. Ridership models developed by the Uptown TIRZ board project that the new bus route will carry 10,000 riders per day in 2018. This estimate is outrageously inflated, given that the more than 30-year-old Park & Ride system only carries 16,000 riders per day, most of whom are […]

System reimagining is hard work

Jarrett Walker, who consulted with Metro on bus system reimagining, wants you to know that it was harder than it looked. These no-new-resources restructurings always involve cutting some low-ridership services to add higher-ridership ones, and these can be incredibly painful decisions for boards, civic leaders, and transit managements. Civic officials can come out looking better […]

Metro board approves reimagining

On to implementation. Metro’s board gave unanimous, final approval to the so-called reimagining plan, authorizing agency staff to plan public meetings to explain the changes. Between now and August, Metro must replace every sign at every bus stop, revise every bus schedule and prepare a massive educational campaign. “This will be the biggest outreach effort […]

System reimagining time

Big day today, hopefully. A once-in-a-generation change to Houston bus service – shifting from a downtown-focused, hub-and-spoke design to a broader network reflecting new ways people move around – could receive final approval by Metro’s board Wednesday. Officials say the “reimagining” may represent a make-or-break moment in the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s efforts to boost lagging […]

2015 Mayoral manifesto: Transportation

Preliminaries Please note that I have called this part of my manifesto “Transportation” and not “Traffic”. I agree that traffic sucks and that the Mayoral candidates ought to have some ideas for how to deal with it. It’s my opinion that the best answers involve providing as many viable alternatives to getting into the car […]

First test for flex zones

This is worth watching. Though many Acres Homes dwellings and shops are in disrepair, a community still thrives here. Churches and some well-kept homes anchor corners and dot small, residential streets, all of which dead-end or loop back to Sweetwater. Bus service in Acres Homes has been lackluster for years, some riders said, and the […]

From the “Good problems to have” department

Metro will have a few million dollars left over when it is done building the remaining light rail lines. After more than three years of construction, Metro officials estimate $39.9 million of the $900 million awarded by the Federal Transit Administration is left over and unlikely to be spent as work wraps up. Contingencies for […]

Still tweaking the reimagining

An updated version of Metro’s reimagined bus network will be out soon. The so-called reimagining plan, which the Metropolitan Transit Authority began studying more than a year ago, touches every bus route in the sprawling Houston-area system. Changes will take effect in June, with Metro planning some early testing of new services and a massive […]

On streetcars and BRT

Offcite considers some alternatives to light rail. Two new light rail lines set to start service early next year will drastically expand Houston’s rail network, but our city will remain dreadfully underserved by the system. Many neighborhoods seeing a greater density of midrise and townhouse developments will not be reached by rail. The bus system […]

Treating all fares the same

Good idea. A six-month test starting in February will gauge the effects of letting cash-paying rail riders switch to buses for free. The vast majority of riders use a Q card, day pass or some other form of Metro payment. Transfers with those items are free, provided subsequent trips are along the system and not […]

Getting more people to use B-Cycle

Houston’s B-Cycle program has been a big success overall, but not in all locations. Despite the growth, however, few of the nearly 70,000 checkouts between January and mid-October are coming from three B-Cycle stations specifically placed to expand the system into Third Ward and Northside neighborhoods. According to B-Cycle data, 1,151 of the 68,419 checkouts […]

Who needs managed lanes?

Not TxDOT, and not on 290. State transportation officials have changed plans for widening U.S. 290, increasing capacity for people driving alone but reducing opportunities for alternatives to solo driving. After initially planning four or five general use lanes in each direction and three reversible managed (toll and carpool) lanes in the center, Texas Department […]

Metro board approves updated bus reimagining plan

With some provisos. Despite vocal opposition, Metropolitan Transit Authority board members tentatively approved sweeping changes to the bus route system that restructure routes and change daily habits for nearly everyone who uses a bus today. The approval authorizes staff to move forward with scheduling and other features, but it doesn’t close off public comment. “We […]

Metro still tweaking its reimagined bus plan

Still a work in progress. Sweeping changes to Houston’s bus system are on pace for approval later this month, though some features of the new routes and schedules will be a work in progress. Five so-called “flex zones” planned in areas where ridership is low but service is crucial will undergo further study and another […]

The downside to downtown’s boom

More traffic, less parking, and lots of construction. Where have we heard those complaints before? Construction crews are clearing city blocks once dedicated to surface parking, readying the sites for multistory office buildings, hotels and residential towers. Adjacent sidewalks and traffic lanes are cordoned off, and two major downtown cross-streets are tied up with light […]

On beautifying the city for the Super Bowl

Chris Andrews has some thoughts about what Houston should and shouldn’t do in preparation for Super Bowl LI in 2017. Things More Important Than Beautification Projects to a Super Bowl Visitor As a sports fan, and through my own experience, I would have to guess that a visitor’s experience in a host city will be […]

Bikes on buses update

Keeps going up. More METRO bus rides are bringing along their bicycles to complete their trip and get from point A to point B. In June, the number of bikes on buses hit a record 21,941, a 32 percent increase over June a year ago. For the first nine months of this fiscal year (Oct. […]