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Houston Neighborhood Hit Hard By Flooding Gets New Bus Route

New Manchester/Lawndale route will operate as a six-month pilot program.


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Dave Fehling
A street in Houston's Manchester neighborhood.

During last month's floods, the Manchester neighborhood in east Houston got about an inch of rain in only 15 minutes, leaving homes flooded and vehicles damaged. But Metro CEO Tom Lambert says many residents had transportation challenges even before then.

"Some of the folks told us that people were having to walk over a mile to get to transit," Lambert says. "That's what the neighborhood told us. It's a service that they really relied on for people to get to jobs, to education, to school."

To help with those issues, Metro is launching the new Manchester/Lawndale route. It's expected to go into service by July 1 and it will will operate as a six-month pilot program.

Lambert says much of the design for the route came from the neighbors themselves.

"One of the challenges along the Manchester route was that there were five different railroad tracks you had to cross," Lambert explains. "And they recognized having to cross the railroad tracks really does not provide quality service. They came up with a route that bypasses those railroad tracks."

So what happens when the pilot program ends?

Metro Chairman Carrin Patman says they're committed to providing service for the neighborhood, either through this route or something new.

"If this particular route is not the best then we'll look at that," Patman says. "But in terms of it being a pilot program, the goal is to get folks transit. And we will get them transit, whether it's by this particular route in the pilot program, or whether we decide to tweak it based on the pilot program."

Patman says she also wants to take a look at other areas of Houston to see where service may be lacking in Metro's newly-redesigned bus network.