Metro Hopes To Get More Riders With New Bus Shelters

Metro is touting big ridership numbers as it marks the one-year anniversary of its new bus network. But transit officials say they need to make some major improvements to get even more riders on board.

To create its new network, Metro redesigned all of Houston's bus routes, some of which had been in place for decades. Routes that snaked through neighborhoods were reconfigured into a grid pattern that crisscrossed the city. And some of the busiest routes got more frequent service.

So how do things look a year later? According to Metro's figures, ridership on the local bus routes was up 1.2%. But combined with rail service, Metro ridership increased close to 7%.

Board member Christof Spieler says he's encouraged by the numbers.

"And I think what we've seen in the last year is that plan, what we imagined, that map we drew, has actually working exactly like we intended," says Spieler.

But Metro admits there's more that needs to be done to get people to ride. And that includes new bus shelters.

CEO Tom Lambert says they want to boost spending for shelters by about 25%. They're hoping to put up about 125 new shelters over the next year.

"So we're going to try to speed up the whole movement of buses, so we need to make sure that the experience is good at the front door as well as when people are getting off the back door," adds Lambert.

Building a bus shelter isn't cheap. Lambert says once you factor in the engineering and design, the cost can go as high as $17,000. But he adds they're looking at some new plans that could bring down that cost.


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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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