Transportation

New Bus Routes Will Serve Harris County Residents Still Recovering From Hurricane Harvey

Transit officials say the routes will also benefit people in east Harris County who lost vehicles in Imelda.

Rafael and Silvia Casas tour the wreckage of their family home near the San Jacinto River in Crosby, Texas, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. The working class neighborhood was completely destroyed Harvey’s flood waters.

While Imelda’s deluge may be fresh in everyone’s minds, there are many residents of east Harris County who are still working to get back on their feet after Hurricane Harvey two years ago.

To help people who still lack transportation, Harris County Transit is setting up five new fixed routes. Those routes will cover hard-hit areas north of I-10 including Channelview, Cloverleaf and Shelton. Parts of Crosby are also getting service.

One route is a circulator between Cloverleaf and Crosby that provides connections to Baytown bus routes. Riders can also connect to METRO routes to get to downtown Houston.

Harris County Transit’s David Jones pointed out that thousands of vehicles were lost during Harvey and many still haven’t been replaced.

“Basically there was no public transportation at all out there,” said Jones. “So now we’re going to be filling in a gap for the next three years.”

Harris County Transit has held public meetings on the new service and Jones says the response has been positive.

“One big problem we’ve noticed is medical appointments,” said Jones. “A lot of people may have had to skip medical appointments because of lack of transportation. That transportation option is now there.”

Jones said the service will be funded through federal disaster relief funds. The cost for the three-year operating period is just under $4 million. Jones said they’ll initially run 21-passenger buses with low floors and ramps.

“We’re hoping to make this a success and we believe it will be,” said Jones. “We’re looking at funding it with regular transit funds after the three-year period.”

And while the service was designed for people still struggling after Harvey, Jones said there are also people who flooded during Imelda who could benefit from it.

“In the Cloverleaf and the Channelview area I know that they did have some issues, also in parts of Crosby,” said Jones. “This will give them an extra opportunity if anybody did suffer damages to avail themselves of the transportation.”

Harris County Transit plans to launch those new routes in November.

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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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