Larger Service Area, 7-day-a-week Rides Proposed in Draft Transit Plan, Now Open for Public Comments
Charged to connect more Houstonians to more places, METRO’s System Re-Imagining proposes to extend local bus routes to better serve businesses and residents in The Energy Corridor, while adding seven-day-a-week service.
The five-year transit plan – now open for public comments – would increase METRO’s reach into neighborhoods and businesses in The Energy Corridor.
- The 75 Eldridge route would extend into Mission Bend neighborhoods and West Oaks Mall, while adding weekend service.
- The Dairy Ashford route would expand to businesses on the north of Interstate I-10 and the Addicks Park & Ride.
- Memorial Express buses would run more often and reach the Addicks Park and Ride.
- Riders would be able to grab buses from Briar Forest to Harwin and enjoy more frequent service along Westheimer.
“These are all improvements that will make transit more convenient to and from The Energy Corridor,” says John Nunez, transportation manager for The Energy Corridor District (ECD). “Our goal is to help METRO provide world-class transit service so that The Energy Corridor businesses and residents have the same options as Uptown, downtown and the Texas Medical Center.”
Working closely with METRO to improve transit options, The ECD received the transit authority’s first outside presentation after the Re-Imagine draft plan was announced. Kurt Luhrsen, METRO vice president of planning, reviewed the plan and its implications with the ECD board of directors in May.
Overall, METRO believes the plan will increase Houston bus ridership by as much as 20 percent after two years.
“The Energy Corridor District and METRO have worked together in a partnership with the Federal Transit Administration to create the 75 Eldridge Crosstown bus route, provide patron amenities such as bus shelters and transit information, and promote existing METRO transit services,” explains Clark Martinson, general manager for The ECD. “Offering transit options will become even more important as The Energy Corridor adds jobs and residents.”
The District leveraged federal grant funds to start the 75 Eldridge, a route that would not exist otherwise, Nunez says.
“Grant funding will expire in September 2014 and METRO will assume responsibility for operating the 75 Eldridge route without federal and ECD financial assistance,” he explains. “The goal of the grant project has always been to start a new route for Energy Corridor workers, otherwise not feasible for METRO to operate, and increase ridership to the level required for METRO to maintain in their system of bus services.”
An adjusted Dairy Ashford route would provide local bus service to the energy campuses along North Dairy Ashford, including Shell, ConocoPhillips, Energy Centers I, II, III and IV, plus new development along Park Row (once the road is completed to Eldridge).
Current Memorial routes that now terminate at Highway 6 will roll into the Addicks Park and Ride, with an express bus operating at more frequent intervals during peak commuting times.
“Area residents could utilize the peak period service as an alternative to driving to Addicks for commuting into downtown,” Nunez says. “ The service would also provide a number of transfer opportunities for commuters into The Energy Corridor.”
The Briar Forest Limited would be rechristened the Harwin Briar Forest Flyer, providing frequent, 18-hour-a-day access into The Energy Corridor from downtown, southwest Houston and Westchase. The route, currently used by Westside High students, also connects Energy Corridor-area residents to Westchase businesses and METRORail.
METRO is holding public workshops throughout Houston about System Re-Imagining. The public is also invited to comment on the plan – or read more about it – here.
For more information on The ECD’s mission to improve mobility in the region, visit energycorridor.org/mobility.