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Posts Tagged ‘Christof Spieler’

Main Street Line having on-time issues

Not good. Poor on-time trends for Metro trains are costing riders time along the city’s most heavily-used transit route, and potentially leading some to consider other options for trips, a transit agency board member said Wednesday. “I think we are losing ridership to this,” said Christof Spieler, during a Metropolitan Transit Authority committee meeting. While […]

What makes transit successful?

It’s pretty basic, as this report lays out. A new report released [Tuesday] by TransitCenter, a foundation dedicated to improving urban mobility, finds that developing transit in walkable areas and offering frequent, fast bus and rail service is the key to increasing urban transit ridership. The report, “Who’s on Board 2016: What Today’s Riders Teach […]

Reimagining public transportation is hard work

Noted for the record. Four years ago, Helsinki launched an innovative bus service as part of a long-term plan to make cars irrelevant. It was called Kutsuplus—Finnish for “call plus.” And it was one of the world’s first attempts to reinvent carpooling for the algorithm age. The service matched passengers who were headed roughly in […]

Other cities want to be like Houston

For parks and landscaping. The word “infrastructure” typically conjures up images of towering buildings, layered freeway interchanges and heavily monitored drainage ditches; concrete, cars, trucks and impressive feats of engineering that attempt to mold the natural world and resources to fit human needs. Houston, the fourth largest city in the U.S., has long been hailed, […]

More Metro appointments for Mayor Turner

The Chron editorial board gets its wish. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday named two new Metro board members and reappointed two others – taking a more moderate course than his predecessor, who replaced all five of the city’s appointees. Disability rights advocate Lex Frieden and construction oversight manager Troi Taylor will join the board, presumably […]

Mayor Turner appoints new Metro board chair

Good choice. Former Metro board member Carrin Patman will return to the transit agency as chairwoman, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Friday. Patman, 59, is a partner at Houston-based law firm Bracewell, where she has represented major corporate clients in fraud and breach of contract claims. She served on the Metropolitan Transit Authority board from April […]

Metro bus system tweaks coming

From the inbox: You spoke, and METRO listened. Beginning Jan. 24, 2016, METRO will put in place a series of route and schedule modifications based on feedback received from riders and bus operators since launching the New Bus Network Aug. 16, 2015. These service enhancements are expected to reduce overcrowding and improve on-time performance, and […]

The system has been reimagined

Now we get to see how it all goes. Seven members of the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority board were among the first passengers to try the revamped bus network launched early Sunday morning after taking a 30-minute bus ride around the city. Metro CEO Tom Lambert joined along on their quick spin across town, allowing […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Metro gets some new rail cars online

Finally. Eight of the long-delayed railcars needed to expand light rail service in Houston are expected to start ferrying passengers in the first week of 2015, promising some relief from rush-hour crowding, transit officials said Thursday. The cars, the first of 39 from CAF U.S.A. to clear their testing, are ready to roll, according to […]

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 […]

Uptown BRT moving forward again

Good news. Tensions are easing over plans to develop dedicated bus lanes in Uptown, where community leaders want to give commuters and shoppers more transportation options and relieve worsening congestion. “We’re there and ready to make this project happen,” said John Breeding, president of the Uptown Management District, the agency leading the project to run […]

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 […]

Christof Spieler: On reimagining the bus network

Note: From time to time, I solicit guest posts from various individuals on different topics. While I like to think I know a little something about a lot of things, I’m fortunate to be acquainted with a number of people who know a whole lot about certain topics, and who are willing to share some […]

Metro unveils draft bus re-imagining

Here’s your proposed new bus system. Transit planners kicked off a major shift in Houston bus service Thursday, betting that the benefit of faster service on key routes will outweigh riders’ concerns about adjusting to new schedules and service patterns. The Metropolitan Transit Authority on Thursday released a draft of its “reimagining” plan, intended as […]

Riding that crowded train

Metro ponders its options for dealing with potential delays in the delivery of new railcars. Metro officials said Wednesday that the best solution to an expected shortage of railcars might be to limit trains on the main light rail line to one car rather than two, freeing up cars from the current fleet to serve […]

The lost canopy

Very disappointing. Metro officials on Thursday scaled back plans for an iconic downtown Houston transit hub where three rail lines will cross after board members grew frustrated with what they called inexcusable delays and cost overruns. “This has been mismanaged from the get-go, and there cannot be situations where things are not budgeted fully,” Metropolitan […]

More riders, fewer routes

Metro keeps moving towards its re-imagined bus service, which is aimed at increasing ridership. Currently, Metro operates on a philosophy that half its resources should go toward high-performing routes and half to making sure everyone has convenient access to a bus stop. By re-directing most of those resources, the same number of buses can provide […]

The Uptown plan is as much about HOV as it is BRT

Maybe more. Most discussion of the Uptown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone’s plan, which goes before City Council this week, has been about a proposal to annex Memorial Park into the zone and spend $100 million restoring the drought-stricken park. The centerpiece of the zone’s plan, however, is a $187.5 million vision to widen and rebuild […]

Biking to transit

KUHF has an update. Metro’s Strategic Planning Committee got an update on the “Bike and Ride” Access Study. Metro says it wants to make it easier for Houstonians to combine bike and bus travel. Metro officials say between 10,000 and 15,000 people every month bring their bikes aboard when they use the bus. Every bus […]

The day pass is back

From Metro: The METRO Board of Directors [Thursday] took the first step to bring back the “day pass.” The Board voted to commit $175,000 to adapt METRO’s Q Card system so a $3.00 extended “day pass” feature can be accommodated later this year. The action allows METRO to modify an existing contract with ACS/Xerox so […]

Metro’s bus strategy

We know that the 2012 Metro referendum was intended to help Metro boost ridership by improving and expanding its bus service. Metro Board member Christof Spieler explains what that means. First, in many cases, transit doesn’t go to the right places. Over time, Houston’s population has shifted as the urban core has redeveloped, older suburbs […]

The return of the day pass

Remember the day pass? One fare, and you could ride the bus and/or light rail all day? Metro is thinking about bringing it back. After a five-year hiatus, the daypass may soon return as an option for Metro bus and train riders. The Metropolitan Transit Authority is studying what it would take to reinstitute single-day […]

Metro moving forward with advertising

This has been in the works for a long time. Depending on what Metropolitan Transit Authority officials decide regarding a new revenue plan, your light rail trip could end at the Taco Bell Station, or some similarly named stop. Officials in early 2013 are expected to receive more information on a revenue plan exploring potential […]

Buses and trains, not buses or trains

I have a lot of emotion about this, but I’m still working through how to express it. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials say the agency is on firmer financial footing than it has been in years. They plan to add shelters at 100 bus stops in the next year, replace aging buses with larger and smaller […]