The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, Texas (known by most simply as METRO), is re-imagining the region’s transit system, and is gathering your feedback. They want to know why you ride the bus (or why not), as well as how METRO can better serve you. They are rethinking the direction of METRO, asking citizens whether they should focus on things like increased coverage or increased ridership, and even how often the buses should run and how far apart should to stops be.
The implications of the re-imagining are far reaching, because some of the questions they are asking in the survey deal with the philosophy the organization will follow, and involve some very important and far-reaching trade-offs.
For example, they ask whether they should concentrate more on coverage or more on increased ridership. While we would love to have both, the reality is that with limited budgets, they need to focus more on one than the other. Focusing on increased ridership would mean decreasing the number of routes, especially unpopular ones, and focusing only on popular routes. Things like commuter and express routes would get full service during rush hour, but minimal or no service on off peak hours. These commuter or express routes would have less stops and be faster than traditional buses that stop at every other corner, and may appeal to more commuters in the hopes of getting them off the freeways. On the other hand, focusing on increased coverage means that the buses will be spread out on more routes, with more stops, and take longer to reach their destinations. Commuters are less likely to use these types of routes, but many people who do not live and work in major urban centers rely on these routes being open.
If you ride the bus, train or use METRO’s HOV or HOT lanes, then you should probably fill out their survey and let them know how they can best serve you. If you would use METRO, but would consider it if they made some changes, then please fill out the survey as well. METRO is trying to attract new riders, so be sure to tell them what would make you ride METRO more.
You can find information about METRO’s Re-imagining on there website:
Be sure to take the “Transit System Reimaging Survey” while it is still available. Here is a direct link to the survey:
METRO is in listening mode. Now is the best time to share what you think and tell them how they can serve you better.
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