#1 Ridership Rises: Growth on METRO's New Network Record Setting

Press Release New Metro Going Places

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Release Date:
Aug. 15, 2016

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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. Besides operating more than 1,200 buses on a New Bus Network,METRORail's expanded system includes the Red Line (Main Street and Northline), Green Line (East End) and Purple Line (Southeast). METRO’s services also include: STAR VanpoolMETROLiftHOV/HOT lanesBike & Ride program, Park & Ride, and road improvement projects. Learn more about METRO services at ridemetro.org where you will also find information about our T.R.I.P. app, and METRO's Next Bus Arrival texting.  


10-Day Countdown to New Bus Network One-year Anniversary

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Ridership Growth Celebrated as Revamped Network Turns One

The numbers show METRO's Transportation Network is experiencing unprecedented growth. The period from September 2015 to July 2016 marks the largest ridership growth in a decade.

METRO has experienced an increase of 4.5 million customer boardings on the local network (local bus and light rail) since the start of the New Bus Network. 

Doing a better job connecting riders from the local bus service to METRORail drove the 6.8 percent ridership growth. The promising stats are even more encouraging when comparing the 11-month period to the last three fiscal years.  The increased ridership represents a 19 percent increase over 2012 - 2015 fiscal years combined.

Still, the biggest highlight of the New Bus Network's anniversary, which is tomorrow, is found in the experiences of METRO's customers.

Melanie Diamond

"I ride the 45 Tidwell on the New Bus Network to school and internships. It connects me with METRORail, which takes me to events in EaDo and Downtown as well. Before the new bus network, I rarely rode the bus because there were a lot of transfers and not many stops near my house.  Now it takes me wherever I need to go," said Melanie Diamond, a new rider.

Regional mobility is quickly becoming a crucial topic. Safe, efficient and reliable transportation in a fast-growing metropolis such as Houston is a must. 

"Multi-modal transportation will be key to solving congestion, and METRO is part of the solution," said METRO Board Chair Carrin Patman. “My board colleagues and I have so much more we want to do to improve transit. We are focused on better bus stops, more bus shelters and improved accessibility.”

METRO President & CEO Tom Lambert recognized METRO's board for its commitment to implementing the New Bus Network. "This investment is paying big dividends," said Lambert. "We're doing exactly what transportation networks are all about. METRO has a light-rail corridor which moves people efficiently and it's interlined with 22 high-frequency routes that run every 15 minutes or less, seven days a week. But there is more to come."

METRO Transportation Network Ridership Highlights

 September 2015 - July 2016

  • 4.5 million customer boardings
  • 6.8% ridership growth on the local network (local bus and rail)
  • Largest 11-month ridership growth in a decade
  • 16.6% ridership gain on METRORail Red Line
  • 1.2% ridership growth local bus network


Other cities are taking notice. Sixteen transit agencies have reached out to METRO to learn more about implementation of the New Bus Network. "We have become a more responsive agency, more focused on serving our customers as a result of this change," said Christof Spieler, METRO board member. “That kind of hard work is getting noticed. Even transit planners in New York City are saying they wish they could do what we did in Houston."

The next phase of the five-year plan will focus on increasing the number of bus shelters, developing new bus stop signage and working with transit partners to improve accessibility to bus stops.     

METRO officials, along with two new riders, celebrate the first-year anniversary of the New Bus Network.