METRO Board Gives Transit Reimagining Plan Green Light

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Release Date: Feb. 11, 2015

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The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is the region’s largest public transit provider, offering safe, reliable and affordable transportation services about 370,000 times per day. METRO operates more than 1,200 buses, and #SystemReimagining is now underway. For a good picture of where we are headed see our new system map. METRO is currently expanding its 13-mile Red Line with two new lines under construction. Other METRO services include: Star Vanpool, METROLift, HOV lanes, HOT lanes, Bikes-on-Buses/Trains program, Park & Ride, and road improvement projects. Learn more about METRO services at where you will also find information about our T.R.I.P. app and the new digital, interactive rider tool METRO 360 [take a seat].


METRO Board Gives Green Light to New, Reimagined Bus Network

System Reimagining  

#System Reimagining will redefine transit for the long haul 

The METRO Board of Directors today approved a complete revamp of the local bus system. The unanimous vote was immediately followed by applause from the audience. 


“The bus system is the bedrock of METRO and this new system is going to be great,” said METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia. “ Ultimately, it’s a lot of work and I’m grateful to everyone who rolled up their sleeves and did it.”


“The reason I have been pushing this plan is because I am a bus rider,”  said Board Member Christof Spieler. “This is transformative. This is the most important thing any city can do to improve their transit system.”  


Transit Reimagining 


METRO's goal with System Reimagining is straightforward. Transit should be easy to use. The plan offers a better match with where people live, work, play and learn. The system is simpler, more frequent, with 7-day a week service connecting more places, faster. Stronger connections between bus and rail will allow for more seamless operations. 


In September, 2014 the Board voted for a provisional approval authorizing staff to move forward with plans for the massive undertaking. During the intervening months,and numerous meetings with community stakeholders, the plan was tweaked.

"It's a good foundation for transit growth," said METRO President & CEO Tom Lambert. "It's an improved map and improved network because of engagement with the community."

Among the changes since the original proposal is a decision not to implement Northeast Flex Zones. The zones will be replaced with fixed-route service. METRO is also partnering with the Acres Homes community to test a neighborhood Community Connector service. The goal in each case is to provide the best service for each community. 

Other changes include:



  • Late day service expansion, minimizing name and number changes - 78% of bus routes to keep same route number
  • Additional $9.3 million for route changes and later service 
  • Improved connections from Northeast Houston to jobs at IAH


Frequent Service Network 

The 5-year transit plan features the "Frequent Network" - a huge transformation and benefit to METRO customers who will know, without a schedule, that service runs every 15 minutes or better. With this color-coded system customers can also see which buses arrive every 16-30 minutes, and determine next bus arrivals for another network with service scheduled every 31-60 minutes. 


Other Highlights: 

Reimagining provides a frequent network grid connecting one million people to one million jobs and increases riders served by frequent service from 25% to 75%.

  • 58% of trips between 30 key destinations faster by 10 minutes or more
  • 94% of riders can board at current stop
  • 20% increase in ridership after 2 years

Next Steps:

In March METRO will begin an extensive public education campaign which will be followed by an analysis of the plan and public hearings concerning the service changes. The new bus network will be ready to implement in August 2015..

For more on #SystemReimagining click here