Tag Archives: METRO New Bus Network

Texoblogosphere: Week of August 17th, 2015

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes former President Carter all the best for a full and fast recovery as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff reports on another Voting Rights Act lawsuit, this one filed on behalf of low English proficiency voters who have been denied the ability to bring a translator of their choice to the ballot box with them.

For a time, many Houstonians considered it a point of pride that the city repealed the use of Red Light Cameras in 2010. But as Texas Leftist has recently discovered, a Houston without camera accountability has become much more dangerous for all transit users…Even deadly.

Related to transit, Texas Leftist was on the ground for the historic debut of Houston METRO’s New Bus Network on August 16th, and even took one new route for a test drive.    Or to be technical, “test ride” since THEY did the driving.

Not a trace of irony has been found to be present in the recent pronouncements of a certain Democratic so-called frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nomination. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs — with an assist from the biting cartoons of Ted Rall — illustrates some of the things making Clintonites so nervous of late, none of which have anything to do with e-mail servers or sagging poll numbers.

Socratic Gadfly runs Kinky Friedman’s old Five Mexican Generals border control plan through a Donald Trump filter, just for a bit of fun.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is sorry to say Nueces County thinks a husband can kill his wife’s lover with impunity. Stand your ground just the way a Republican likes it. Your wife is your property.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. There is so much Texas could do for those in need, but our GOP state leaders choose to do nothing. As a consequence Only Texas Remains above the 20% uninsured rate.

Neil at All People Have Value asserted that the nine bikers shot dead in Waco this past May may have been wrongly killed. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.


The Makeshift Academic reviews the landscape in Texas on the Affordable Care Act.

Nancy Sims considers the value of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus’ Mayoral endorsement.

The Houston Justice Coalition calls for an investigation into the actions of three sheriff’s deputies who forcibly conducted an illegal body cavity search publicly on a woman in Harris County.

Scott Braddock knows the real reason why Ken Paxton is still in office.

The Texas Living Waters Project reminds us that the best time to plan for a drought is when you’re not in one.




Today’s feature photo is of the Wharton County Courthouse in Wharton, Texas.  Credit:  L. Wayne Ashley

August 16th: Get Ready For Houston’s New Bus Network

Anyone with a credible amount of theater experience can tell you… whether it’s costumes, staging, learning lines, orchestra cues, piano tuning or scene direction, the work leading up to a show seems like it will never get completely done.  That is, until the seats start filling on opening night.  Eventually, you have to lift the curtain, get on stage and show ’em what you’ve got.

For the city of Houston however, August 16th isn’t just “another show”.  The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is about to completely transfigure the city’s local bus system, and they’re not going back.  The stage is set, and early on that Sunday morning, over 10,000 “curtains” will be lifted across the METRO service area.


With so much to do, it’s no surprise that METRO is still getting ready.  According to officials, the vast majority of stops have now been replaced and bagged, with the main exception being Downtown Houston.  Anticipating the need for additional staff, the agency has held several job fairs.  And of course, there are still routing adjustments being made.  Here’s more on those last-minute changes from Dug Begley of the Houston Chronicle

Officials spent more than a year discussing and refining the plan, but as opening day for the new system nears, they are still reshaping some of the routes to correct problems riders have identified.

Among those worried about the new network are senior citizens who live east of Texas 288 near Loop 610, who face a long walk to a bus stop, and patients of the Harris Health System’s Thomas Street Health Center, which serves a large number of HIV-positive Houston residents. The clinic, off Main Street near Interstate 45 on Houston’s near north side, essentially loses front-door access under the new system.

For months, Metro officials have said the new bus system will require some to adjust their riding habits, but it will benefit most riders. The new system also is expected to lure more people to the bus system, which has seen ridership remain below 300,000 passengers per weekday for the past six years, after a decade of higher daily averages.

Most can be assured that the issues will continue, but for good or ill the prep work for these is basically done.  If you’re a bus rider, or interested in giving the new network a try,

METRO has a bevy of resources to help you plan new routes on the website.  Chief among them is the new dual trip planner… a side-by-side comparison for old and new bus routes. There are YouTube videos which walk users through alternatives for several routes Or if you just want to focus on new routes, use the updated and much improved interactive service map.  For the tech savvy, ultra-hip patrons the transit agency hopes to attract, there is much to love about the new bus network.

As part of the New Bus Network, Houston METRO will institute drastic changes to local bus service.  Some bus routes, even popular ones like the 81 Westheimer Sharpstown, will be eliminated and replaced.  

But an important question remains… has METRO done all it can to prepare and educate its current ridership about the new system?  As we know, there are many patrons that do not have access to all of these high-tech tools.

To address those patrons and any others riding the system, METRO has just announced that the new print version System Maps will be released to the public next week.  Even in 2015, the system map and route maps truly are the cornerstone information pieces for current riders, and will likely prove critical to a successful transition of the network.

If you haven’t heard yet, METRO is also doing one more thing to help riders learn the new system.  For the week of August 16th through August 22nd, all METRO local bus service will be free for all riders.  It’s an extraordinary step, but again one that is needed. This time frame also happens to be the week before most Houston-area public schools start classes for the fall semester.  Families need at least one week to figure out the particulars of their new transit routes, perhaps even more time.

In just over a week, Houston’s regional transit system will be forever affected by the New Bus Network.  The stage is set, and the nation is watching.  Let’s all hope for a good show.