TRANSIT: Houston looking to expand bus service without adding expenses

City plans to reprioritize service areas, increase use of transfers to provide more seamless travel

May 12, 2014

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston Metro) unveiled designs for a major expansion of the bus network for Texas’ largest city that won’t require any additional spending by the agency. Houston Metro hopes to have the revamped system up and running by next summer.

The crux of the revamp will involve eliminating redundant routes and focusing more resources on high-ridership corridors. Houston Metro also plans to make greater use of transfers between bus lines—a move not necessarily popular with riders but that should actually get them to their destination quicker.

Ultimately, Houston Metro hopes to have buses arriving at stops every 15 minutes or less in the reimagined system.

Removing/reducing service from less-populated, more remote areas could be somewhat controversial, but Metro assures that the number of people affected will be minimal. Projections for the revamped system suggest that 93% of current riders will still be able to catch the bus at the same stop they currently do.

U.S. Census data indicates that currently, 534,000 people who frequently use the bus system live within a half-mile of the line; under the reimagined network, that number will shoot past 1 million—a 111% increase.