Transportation

Smaller Communities See A Growing Demand For Public Transit

A bus service operating in suburban Houston says ridership is up and it’s looking to expand.

Connect Transit serves communities in Galveston and Brazoria Counties. It operates fixed-route buses along with on-demand service.

Director James Hollis says transit is the most affordable option for a lot of people, and they’ve seen ridership grow by about 10 percent over the past year.

“It’s very expensive to operate a car,” says Hollis. “A lot of people just can’t afford it.”

Hollis says last year’s budget was about $4.5 million and they were operating at a deficit because of the high demand for service. He says a lot of that demand comes from people who need to get to medical appointments.

Hollis adds money is available from the state and the federal government, but first they have to get matching funds from local communities. And it’s not always easy.

“They have so many demands on them,” says Hollis. “Street repair, social services, and all the other things that they do managing their cities.”

As for what Connect Transit riders will see in 2017, Hollis says they’re planning to add new 30-passenger buses on some of the more popular routes. They’re also seeking additional grant funding to help run the service.

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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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