The $756 million North Line extension is the first of three new light rail lines to go into service. Starting Saturday morning at 10:00, riders can hop aboard for the five-mile trip between University of Houston-Downtown and the Northline Transit Center.
Metro Interim CEO Tom Lambert says transit riders will now have expanded hours of service on Main and Fulton Streets and they can make more frequent trips.
"But what it also does is allows us to really feed in other bus routes, into that corridor that improves travel times, improves frequencies, improves overall service for the customer."
Metro started work on the North Line extension in 2009. As part of the process, the agency offered cash assistance to businesses that were affected by the lengthy construction. It paid out close to two million dollars to restaurants, shops, and other businesses along the route.
Metro Vice-President David Couch says the work also included major infrastructure improvements.
"There are literally miles and miles of water lines, storm sewers, and AT&T duct banks that have been reconstructed during the process. Every piece of the city streets has been reconstructed."
To celebrate the new line, Metro is offering free rides on Saturday, and there's also an all-day party at Moody Park. Mike Martinez is Manager of Stakeholder Affairs.
"In acknowledgment and recognition of local businesses, Metro has reached out to the area business owners to offer them an opportunity to participate in this important event. Among these businesses will be an array of area food vendors from Houston's Northside community."
For more information on the light rail kickoff, visit RideMetro.org.