Harris County Transit is using federal disaster funds to operate five new bus routes in areas that are still recovering from Harvey. Service started earlier this month in Channelview, Sheldon and Cloverleaf, and there’s already a lot of interest.
Harris County Transit Deputy Assistant Director David Jones said they had 313 boardings in their first week of operation. In the second week, boardings rose to 565. Jones said that increase is significant.
"And as more people realize the service, more people are going to use the service," he said. "They're finding it meets a lot of needs for shopping, school, medical and even just social trips."
Even though the service is designed for people who suffered losses in Harvey's floods, Jones said they'd like to make the routes permanent.
Right now they have three years' worth of disaster funds to operate the buses. Jones said after that, they want to use other funding to keep the service going.
"I look for these things to expand over time," said Jones. "We have aging demographics and the population is going to need more public transportation. And as we get more dense in population, for air quality, public transportation is going to be the way to go."
To allow people to try out the new routes, Harris County Transit is offering free rides through the end of January. You can check out schedules and routes on the Harris County Transit website.