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Holiday Party for Young Transit Pros

Holiday mixer - young people standing around chatting

YPT Houston is throwing a holiday mixer at the Tasting Room - Uptown Park on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m.

This is a wonderful opportunity to meet young professionals in transportation – or the young at heart.

YPT will cover the first round of drinks, so be sure to arrive on time to enjoy the free drink. Attire is holiday attire/business casual.

The event is free, but please RSVP here.

YPT is a nonprofit that offers professional development, fellowship and networking opportunities for young professionals in the transportation field around the nation and the world. It provides regular seminars and technical tours, as well as a forum for support among other transit professionals and networking events.

Get in the holiday spirit, and let’s meet and mingle with other transit professionals.

 

Weekend Happenings with METRO Dec. 2-4

Montage of events 

This is a guest post by Darla Bell, manager of Strategic Analysis in Communications & Marketing. 

We are lucky in Houston to have so many terrific entertainment options available during the holiday season.  If you’re like me, you just don’t know where to start and how to fit them all into your schedule. 

 Here are a few things to get you in a joyous mood – the city tree-lighting celebration, an evening of traditional holiday music, and an evening of classic holiday theater.  What’s not to love?  So get out there and enjoy – the weather guys say it might even feel more wintery this weekend, so that’s a step in the right direction. 

 Another step in the right direction is to board a METRO bus or train to move you to your destination.  Save your gas-and-parking money for holiday entertainment (and maybe even some gifts).  The online Trip Planner will help you find the right routes.  Don’t let me hear you say you have nothing to do this weekend.

Event:  Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting.  Ring in the season with the 97th Annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting in the heart of downtown Houston.  You’ll enjoy music, Santa, fireworks and family fun for free.  There will be lots of entertainment, and this year’s featured artist is Michelle Williams, formerly of the group Destiny’s Child.  Santa will be available for free photos with the kids in his North Pole-themed booth.  Everyone who brings a new, unwrapped toy to the Salvation Army booth will receive a light-up Santa hat from Reliant.

When: Friday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: Hermann Square at City Hall, 900 Smith St.

Getting there*:

Bus – 20 Canal/Memorial, 30 Clinton/Ella, 32 Renwick/San Felipe, 40 Telephone/Heights, 41 Kirby/Polk, 44 Acres Homes, 82 Westheimer, 85 Antoine/Washington, 102 Bush IAH Express, 151 Westpark Express, 161 Wilcrest Express, 162 Memorial Express, 209 Kuykendahl/Spring Park & Ride, 219 Northwest Station/West Little York Park & Ride, 249 Monroe/Bay Area/Fuqua Park & Ride, 259 Kingwood/

Townsen/Eastex Park & Ride

METRORail – Red Line (exit Main Street Square Station), Green Line and Purple Line (exit Theater District Station)

Event:  Very Merry Pops.  The Houston Symphony musicians and chorus invite you to jingle along with them in their annual series of holiday music concerts featuring - who else – Santa Claus.  They’ll play lots of holiday classics along with some new interpretations of old favorites.  This is a one-weekend-only delight, so don’t miss it.  Tickets can be purchased online.

When: Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Where: Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana St.

Getting there*:

Bus – 32 Renwick/San Felipe (exit Travis & Rusk), 44 Acres Homes (exit Louisiana & Walker), 82 Westheimer (exit Travis & Rusk), 102 Bush IAH Express (exit Travis or Milam & Rusk), 160 Memorial City Express/161 Wilcrest Express/162 Memorial Express (exit Smith & Rusk)

METRORail – Red Line (exit Central Station), Green Line and Purple Line (exit Theater District Station)

Event:  A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas.”  The Alley Theatre presents this seasonal favorite each year.  Charles Dickens’ story follows Ebenezer Scrooge’s overnight journey with the three ghostly spirits who visit him on Christmas Eve.  It’s impossible to tire of a good story with a timeless message like this one.  This is also a great chance to see the Alley’s wonderful renovations if you haven’t experienced them yet.  You can buy tickets online.

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Where: Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Ave.

Getting there*:

Bus – 11 Almeda/Lyons, 20 Canal/Memorial, 30 Clinton/Ella, 32 Renwick/San Felipe, 41 Kirby/Polk, 44 Acres Homes, 51 Hardy-Kelley, 52 Hardy-Ley , 82 Westheimer, 85 Antoine/Washington, 102 Bush IAH Express, 137 Northshore Express, 160 Memorial City Express, 161 Wilcrest Express, 162 Memorial Express

METRORail – Green Line or Purple Line (exit Theater District Station)

*Suggested connections as provided by our Customer Care Center; more convenient routes may vary per individual needs.

 

Social Media Team Keeps Riders Informed

Bird's eye view of TranStar 

The following is a guest post by Brent Taylor, social media specialist at TranStar. 

 

As part of METRO’s commitment to customer care, the organization recently hired a team of social media specialists who provide real-time service alerts when customers need them most.

 

The team works at Houston TranStar, the regional transportation hub located near Katy Freeway and the West Loop. In this building, METRO partners with the City of Houston, Harris County, and TxDOT to manage transportation issues, big and small, as they arise. Communication between departments is very important, even for seemingly minor traffic issues. 

 

For example, if a vehicle gets a flat tire while in an HOV lane, METRO’s ARGO (Automated Reversible Gate Operation) controllers need to communicate with SAFEClear dispatchers to send a wrecker. That wrecker then needs police to block traffic while it accesses the HOV lane from the closest exit, so it can reverse down the lane to pick up the stalled car. Having representatives from each of those agencies in one room makes processes run much smoother.

 

Being in the same room where these decisions are made gives the social media team immediate access to the information that most directly affects passengers. When a bus is stalled somewhere along the route, for example, all it takes is walking over to the controller and learning the specifics – which direction, what time the replacement bus is arriving, etc. Then this information is put into an alert that is sent out on Facebook, Twitter, email, text, and on ridemetro.org.

 

Super Bowl Traffic: How to Beat It



Super Bowl graphic of football and stadium 

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to descend upon Houston starting the end of January leading up to Super Bowl LI, and METRO and city officials want you to #KnowBeforeYouGo. 


A transportation guide was unveiled yesterday by officials, part of a social media campaign, and it outlines efficient ways to get around areas reserved for the Super Bowl events, such as Discovery Green and the George R. Brown Convention Center, as well as nearby street closures. 


The Super Bowl Host Committee, with whom METRO is working closely, released a transportation guide which can be found at housuperbowl.com/transportation


Here at METRO, shuttle bus service will be running at least two hours after Super Bowl live events end. Extended rail hours from Jan. 28 to Feb. 5 will begin around 4 a.m. and run until at least midnight daily.


METRO will be operating shuttles, including free shuttles in the downtown and Midtown areas and a $2 shuttle from Uptown-Galleria to downtown. See more info here.


Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said bigger crowds are expected downtown at the 10-day festival, and anticipates 100,000 people a day. At the Super Bowl game itself, he predicted there would be less attending than the typical crowd at a Texans game.  


But officials emphasized that anyone venturing downtown in the 10 days before the Super Bowl needs to know before you go. The Houston Super Bowl Host Committee expects to release an app in December that allows you to pre-pay and reserve a parking spot. 


Want to bike your way into downtown? A new bicycle valet service will secure your bike while you’re Discovery Green or the George R. Brown Convention Center.


Find out which streets will be closed and how to best navigate by going here. Be smart, and #KnowBeforeYouGo. 


METRO Unveils First All Battery-electric Bus

Officials in front of the Proterra elecrtric bus

METRO unveiled its first demo of an all battery-electric bus today in an event that included employees dancing the Electric Slide and students from Energy Institute High School participating in the big reveal.

METRO Chair Carrin Patman called the agency’s first test with an all-electric bus an important milestone for METRO and the community. METRO will be driving the Proterra bus from December to February 2017, using it on the 63 Fondren, one of its busiest routes.

The bus has no engine and zero emissions.

Doran Barnes, the CEO of Southern California’s Foothill Transit Authority, which already has a fleet of 15 all-electric buses, flew in for the event, and said his agency was eager to share information learned from its experience, adding he believed it was possible to achieve zero emissions fleet-wide.

Proterra official Matt Horton, senior vice president of marketing, called all-electric buses a sea change in the industry. “We believe at Proterra that we’re in the beginning of a massive transformation in transportation in the U.S.,” said Horton.

Tom Lambert, METRO’s president & CEO, said the bus would be tested to see if it can withstand Houston’s extreme summer heat and be able to cool the temperature from 110  to 70 degrees in 30 minutes. “We want to make sure it adapts to the Houston environment,” said Lambert.

This clean, battery-electric bus is a 40-foot, low-flow vehicle with a fuel economy that’s the equivalent energy of 22 miles per gallon – about what a small SUV would use. It carries 77 passengers – 40 seated and 37 standing. On-board batteries powering the bus are lithium-titanate batteries. This bus is made of a carbon-composite body that is non-conductive and rust-resistant.

You can ride the bus on the 63 Fondren, which starts and ends at Missouri City Park & Ride/Old Farm Road at Westheimer Road. Buses on this route run every 15 minutes, seven days a week. The route’s major destinations are Houston Baptist University, Missouri City Park & Ride and PlazAmericas Shopping Mall.

The bus can re-charge at Missouri City Park & Ride while in service.

“Ride the electric bus – the battery bus!” Patman told the crowd.

Weekend Happenings with METRO Nov. 24-27, 2016


Montage of events 

 

This is a guest post by Darla Bell, manager of Strategic Analysis in Communications & Marketing. 

 

The long weekend of family, friends, and food (not necessarily in that order) is upon us.  In between entertaining and putting up your Christmas decorations, take some time to rouse the family from their turkey-induced stupor and go out to enjoy some traditional holiday activities. 

 

Before the turkey (unless you eat it for breakfast), we have the big Thanksgiving Day parade.  After the turkey, we have the Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting extravaganza.  And that’s just one day.  I can’t tell you about everything that you can do this weekend – there’s truly something for everyone – but I’ve recommended a couple of things.  And you know I always recommend using METRO for whatever travel you want to undertake.  Holiday traffic can be such a bear.  The online Trip Planner is waiting to guide you to the bus or rail route that will get you to your destination.  Ready or not - the holidays begin right now.

 

Event:  67th Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade.  A holiday tradition in Houston, the parade has been an event since 1949.  This year’s Parade Marshals are Simone Biles and Simone Manuel, famous from their feats at the recent Olympic Games.  Of course, there will be beautiful floats, marching bands, high-flying balloons and live entertainment along the way.  But best of all, Santa and his reindeer will arrive at the end of the parade.  If you get hungry, there will be vendors and food trucks to hold you over until the big Thanksgiving meal.

 

When: Thursday at 9 a.m.

 

Where: Downtown Houston (parade starts Smith at Lamar, north to Walker, east to Milam, south to Pease, west to Louisiana, north to Clay, west to Smith, and north to end at Smith and Dallas)

 

Getting there*:

Bus – 6 Jensen/Greens, 20 Canal/Memorial, 32 Renwick/San Felipe, 40 Telephone/Heights, 44 Acres Homes, 82 Westheimer, 85 Antoine/Washington, 102 Bush IAH Express, 137 Northshore Express, 160 Memorial City Express, 161 Wilcrest Express, 162 Memorial Express, 413 Greenlink Orange

 

METRORail – Red Line (exit Main Street Square Station), Green Line and Purple Line (exit Theater District Station)

 

Event:  31st Annual Uptown Houston Holiday Lighting.  You can start off Thanksgiving morning with the big downtown parade, then cap off the day with fireworks at this event.  Beginning at 4 p.m., there will be holiday music and concessions.  The free Merry Holiday Stage Show begins at 5 p.m. and features live performances by the Houston Concert Band, Salvation Army Harbor Lights Choir, Houston Choral Showcase, Ballet Folklorico groups, Houston Children’s Chorus, and more.  At 7 p.m., Santa and his reindeer will pull the switch lighting up the 80 Christmas trees along Post Oak Boulevard.  A fireworks display ends the evening and heralds the opening of the holiday season.

 

When: Thursday at 4 p.m. (lighting at 7 p.m.)

 

Where: Post Oak Boulevard between San Felipe and Westheimer

 

Getting there*:

Bus – 32 Renwick/San Felipe, 33 Post Oak, 82 Westheimer

 

Event:  Enchanted Promenade.  Discovery Green has allowed us to enjoy some interesting and beautiful art installations in the past, and this one appears to be no exception.  This is the first weekend to view it: 10 giant, colorful peony bouquets by TILT, a French light and art design studio (and I always complain that we can’t grow peonies in Houston).  If you need a respite from all of this weekend’s celebrations, come here, sit under the lights, and just relax and reflect.  The installation will be with us through Feb. 19, but hours are subject to change during the Super Bowl festivities from Jan. 28 to Feb. 5.

 

When: Thursday (Thanksgiving), Friday, Saturday and Sunday from dusk to 11 p.m.

 

Where: Discovery Green Conservancy, 1500 McKinney St.

 

Getting there*:

Bus – 6 Jensen/Greens, 11 Almeda/Lyons, 32 Renwick/San Felipe, 40 Telephone/Heights, 41 Kirby/Polk, 52 Hardy-Ley, 413 Greenlink Orange

 

METRORail – Green Line and Purple Line (exit Convention District Station)

 

Event:  An Evening with Barbra Streisand.  Barbra Streisand is such an iconic entertainer that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that she’s in town this weekend.  This is her very first performance in Houston, if you can believe that.  I read an interesting fact – she is “the only recording artist or group to achieve No. One albums in six different decades.”  What a testimonial to her talent.  Not a cheap ticket by any means, but worth the money, if you can swing it.  Tickets can be purchased online (and you get a copy of her new album if you buy online).

 

When: Sunday at 8 p.m.

 

Where: Toyota Center, 510 Polk St.

 

Getting there*:

Bus – 6 Jensen/Greens, 11 Almeda/Lyons, 40 Telephone/Heights, 41 Kirby/Polk, 51 Hardy-Kelley, 52 Hardy-Ley, 137 Northshore Express, 413 Greenlink Orange

 

 

Red Line Service Modification

Rider alert icon

Starting on Monday, Nov. 28, the Red Line service will undergo modifications, switching to single track service in Midtown.

From 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. each night through Thursday, Dec. 15, the METRORail Red Line between Wheeler and Downtown Transit Center stations will be closed. Trains will run on a single track in this area with a 20-minute frequency during these times only.

This service modification is occurring in order to accommodate sewer system renovations as Midtown continues to undergo development.

So if you’re a late-night traveler, please allow extra time to reach your destination during this three-week period. And thanks for your patience.

Playing Soccer at a Train Station


 

Soccer field at metro train station in Atlanta

 

Public transit just got way cooler in Atlanta.

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) recently unveiled a groundbreaking new soccer field inside its Five Points Station.

Station Soccer is intended to offer an opportunity for local youngsters to play the popular sport. The project was sponsored by Atlanta United FC’s foundation, reports Inhabitat, an online newsletter.

The soccer field is centrally located and easy to access from all of Atlanta’s metro lines. Five Points Station is MARTA’s biggest station and is the primary transfer point on its system. The soccer field was built in an unused area of the station.

“The field will allow our organization to expand through a totally new concept in urban soccer, designed specifically for kids who live in underserved neighborhoods,” said Phil Hill, executive director of Soccer in the Streets, a nonprofit which will offer free youth programming and adult leagues at Station Soccer.

 

 


Weekend Happenings with METRO Nov. 18-20, 2016

Montage of events

This is a guest post by Darla Bell, manager of Strategic Analysis in Communications & Marketing. 

 

The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming!  I don’t know if that represents a Paul Revere-style warning or a reason for unmitigated happiness.  Be prepared for an avalanche of joyous events, and you’ll find two of them below.  We’ll get back to normal after January 1.  Meanwhile, remain calm and consider riding METRO to help you keep your sanity.  Just visit our online Trip Planner to find the right bus and/or rail route for your outing, and then skip the madness of traffic and parking.  Happy pre-holidays.

 

Event:  Friday Flicks on the Lawn.  GreenStreet hosts free big-screen movies on one Friday every month – and you’re in luck, this Friday is one of those Fridays.  Bring your blankets and lawn chairs to view “Elf.”  Spend an evening with Buddy the Elf and his quest for his real father.  The kids will love it, and you’ll be feeling the holiday spirit when you leave.

When: Friday at 8 p.m.

Where: Green Street, 1201 Fannin St.

Getting there*:

Bus – 6 Jensen/Greens, 11 Almeda/Lyons, 32 Renwick/San Felipe, 40 Telephone/Heights, 41 Kirby/Polk, 44 Acres Homes, 52 Hardy-Ley, 82 Westheimer, 85 Antoine/Washington, 102 Bush IAH Express, 137 Northshore Express

 

METRORail – Red Line (at Main Street Square Station southbound, Bell Station northbound/walk 1.5 blocks north), Green Line and Purple Line (exit Central Station Rusk or Capitol, walk one block to Red Line Central Station Main; take Red Line to Main Street Square Station southbound)

Event:  La Boheme.”  Saturday is the closing night for this run of Puccini’s opera as produced by Opera in the Heights, so don’t miss it.  This is a great “starter” opera for those not so familiar with this type of music, and you can enjoy it up-close and personal in an intimate venue at a more affordable price.  “La Boheme” is a story of love among young artists, the embodiment of the term “starving artists.”  In an interesting twist, this production is set in the 1960s rather than the traditional 1880s time period. Tickets can be purchased online.

When: Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

 

Where: Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd.

Getting there*:

Bus – 26 Long Point/Cavalcade, 40 Telephone/Heights

Event:  Cirque Dreams Holidaze.  At the beginning of this blog I said that Buddy the Elf would put you in the holiday spirit.  Well, this event will double, triple, quadruple that feeling.  You can expect snowmen, penguins, angels, reindeer, toy soldiers, gingerbread men, and Santa all in one Broadway-style, musical, Christmas spectacular.  Be prepared to be overwhelmed.  Tickets can be purchased online.

 

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Where: Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana St.

Getting there*:

Bus – 32 Renwick/San Felipe (exit Travis & Rusk), 44 Acres Homes (exit Louisiana & Walker), 82 Westheimer (exit Travis & Rusk), 102 Bush IAH Express (exit Travis or Milam & Rusk), 160 Memorial City Express/161 Wilcrest Express/162 Memorial Express (exit Smith & Rusk)

METRORail – Red Line (exit Central Station), Green Line and Purple Line (exit Theater District Station)

*Suggested connections as provided by our Customer Care Center; more convenient routes may vary per individual needs.


Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule 2016

Thanksgiving meal with autum floral arrangment and "Happy Thanksgiving" on placard 

As we head into the Thanksgiving holidays, many of you will be traveling to visit loved ones. Here is METRO’s holiday schedule:

Wednesday, Nov. 23

  •  Local bus routes will operate on a regular weekday schedule

  •  Six Park & Ride routes will run additional trips from downtown every 15 minutes. Click here to find which bus routes are affected.

  • 236 Maxey Road/Baytown will run every 30 minutes, from noon to 3 p.m.

  •  Park & Ride routes not listed will operate regular evening service starting at about 3 p.m.

  • METRORail will operate a regular weekday schedule.

Thursday, Nov. 24 – Thanksgiving Day

  • Local bus routes will operate on a Sunday schedule.

  • Park & Ride routes will not run.

  • METRORail will operate on a Sunday schedule.

Friday, Nov. 25

  • Local bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule.

  • Park & Ride service will not run.

  • METRORail will operate on a Saturday schedule.

Saturday, Nov. 26 and Sunday, Nov. 27

  • Local bus and METRORail will run on a regular weekend schedule.

  • Park & Ride routes will not operate.

     

The RideStore and Lost & Found will be open on Wednesday, Nov. 23, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., then remain closed until Monday.

Click here to see METROLift Thanksgiving holiday hours.

The day before Thanksgiving is traditionally the most traveled day of the year – so stay safe on the road. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

DOT Celebrates Veterans in Transportation


To commemorate the Department of Transportation’s 50th anniversary, the department is celebrating veterans in transportation throughout November.

Today, meet Air Force veteran Jerry, who served in Vietnam and later worked at a transportation engineering firm and at New Jersey Transit.

Jerry’s long career in transit started with a library book on the electric trolley and interurban rail in America, a book he kept in his dorm room for a year.

An architect major at Princeton, Jerry was offered a grant from the Urban Mass Transportation Administration – now the Federal Transit Administration. Jerry found his passion. Read his story here.

Are you a veteran with a transportation story? Comment below and share your story with us. We’d love to hear from you.

Ride METRORail Free to UH Game Thursday

UH vs Cardinals graphic and pizza

 

Hey, Cougar fans – get the full game day experience by riding METRORail free this Thursday as you watch the Houston Cougars play against the Louisville Cardinals.

All riders with a valid Cougar game ticket or University of Houston student ID can ride METRORail free to and from the game. The UH vs. Louisville game is sold out – so take METRORail to sidestep parking issues and traffic delays.

You can park your car downtown at one of three SP+Parking Lots for just $5. Then ride the Red Line – board at Bell Station and exit at Central Station-Main. Walk one block to Central Station-Rusk Station to transfer and board the Purple Line. Exit at Robertson Stadium/UH/TSU Station, and walk to your destination.  

If you want to grab a snack, check out Your Pie, located at Main and Leeland, one block south of Bell Station. In a partnership with METRO, Your Pie is offering a free 20-ounce drink with a purchase of a build-your-own pizza for $8.99.

Ride the rail for free – and enjoy the game.

 

 

METRO Wins Financial Transparency Award


Five stars in a row 

METRO achieved an award last week for providing easy, online access to financial information in the Texas Comptroller’s newly launched Comptroller’s Transparency Stars program.

The Transparency Stars program recognizes local governments that meet criteria for transparency in five areas: traditional finances, contracts and procurements, economic development,  public pension and debt obligations.

“By providing meaningful financial data, in addition to visual tools and analysis of its revenues and expenditures, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County has shown a true commitment to Texas taxpayers,” said Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar in a statement. “I am pleased to award METRO a star for its accomplishments.”

Recipients must offer clear financial information not only by posting documents, but also by providing summaries and visualizations, such as charts and tables and downloadable data.

“This award shows our transparency to the public, and helps us keep the information accurate when we update the records,” said Yang Liu, lead financial analyst – Pension Investments.

In March, the Transparency Stars program replaced the Texas Comptrollers Leadership Circle Award, started in December 2009. METRO won the highest level of award in that program for five years.

This new awards program requires a lot more information than the old program. “It is way beyond the previous levels,” said Liu. “We had to develop more information and put them in different formats – downloadable Excel and charts.”

Once an entity earns the Traditional Finances star, it is eligible to work on earning the other four stars.

METRO said it is already working at earning the remaining stars. So far, it is the only transit agency in the state which has received a star in The Transparency Stars program.

METRO also received two other finance awards last month: The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting and an individual award to William McHale, senior director of Accounting/Controller.

Both awards were given by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United State and Canada (GFOA). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition and was given to METRO for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).

The Award of Financial Reporting Achievement given to McHale honors the individual most responsible for preparing the award-winning CAFR.

 

 

Weekend Happenings with METRO Nov. 11-13 2016

Montage of events 

 

This is a guest post by Darla Bell, manager of Strategic Analysis in Communications & Marketing. 

 

Another weekend already…and the countdown to Thanksgiving is on.  This is the weekend of two highly anticipated, annual charity-related shopping events, so I was tempted to make this a blog concentrating on shopping.  However, in an attempt to keep the whole household happy, here are two football-related events also.  We aim to please.  METRO also aims to please in terms of providing you with stress-free ways to get to any event of your choice.  You’ll find that our trusty online Trip Planner can help you schedule your trip to and from so many places in the city, so just give it a try.  You’ll be glad that you did.  Now get out there, and enjoy the weekend.

 

Event:  Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker Market.  This is Houston Ballet’s 36th annual shopping extravaganza, and its largest fundraiser.  This year’s theme is “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  You’ll find more than 280 merchants with unique items including home décor, food, clothing, toys, toiletries, novelties, and much more – so wear your walking shoes.  The time is right – just in time for holiday shopping.  10% of merchandise purchases and all proceeds from admission and special event tickets go to the Houston Ballet Foundation for its Academy and scholarship programs.  Discount tickets can be purchased online or at Houston-area Randalls stores.  Tickets can also be purchased at the Market, but be prepared to pay cash for these.

 

When: Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Where: NRG Center, One NRG Park

 

Getting there*:

Bus – 84 Buffalo Speedway (exit Kirby & Westridge)

 

METRORail – Red Line (exit Reliant Station on Fannin side)

 

Event:  Theta Charity Antiques Show.  The Theta show has been an annual fixture in Houston since 1952.  It generates an average of $200,000 yearly for beneficiaries of the Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae Chapter, including Texas Children’s Cancer Center, Bayou Bend Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and Child Advocates, among others.  The show, run entirely by volunteers, is considered one of the three top antiques shows in the country and the most preeminent show in the South.  Along with 50 of the finest antiques purveyors in the world, you can experience lectures and Designer Walks as part of the event.  I’ve attended this show for years and always learn something new.

 

When: Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Where: Bayou City Event Center, 9401 Knight Rd.

 

Getting there*:

Bus - 11 Almeda/Lyons (exit Almeda & Knight), 73 Bellfort (exit W. Bellfort & Knight)

 

Event:  Houston No Limits Football & Freedom Movie Night.  Come celebrate football and freedom on Veteran’s Day with a free screening of the football fan-favorite movie “The Blind Side,” outdoors on the big screen.  In addition to photo opps with the Texans Cheerleaders, there will be raffles, Super Bowl giveaways, and you can buy food and beverages or bring a picnic.  Bring your blanket or lawn chairs.

 

When: Friday from 6 to 9:15 p.m. (movie begins at 7:05 p.m.)

 

Where: Discovery Green Conservancy, 1500 McKinney St.

 

Getting there*:

Bus – 32 Renwick/San Felipe, 44 Acres Homes, 85 Antoine/Washington, 102 Bush IAH Express, 160 Memorial City Express, 161 Wilcrest Express, 162 Memorial Express

 

METRORail – Red Line (exit Main Street Square Station)

 

Event:  Touchdown Tour.  Join the Houston Super Bowl Committee for its traveling celebration of football.  These free public events bring games, exhibits, appearances, food and fun for all ages to parks around the city to raise awareness and create excitement about Super Bowl LI, which will be played at NRG Stadium in February 2017.  Bring out the kids for some free fun.  Check the committee’s website to see the other parks and dates for these events.  They’re scheduled through mid-January.

 

When: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

Where: Finnigan Park, 4900 Providence

 

Getting there*:

Bus – 48 Market (exit at Providence & Schweikhardt)

 

*Suggested connections as provided by our Customer Care Center; more convenient routes may vary per individual needs.

 

 

METRORail Green Line to Partially Close


Sign that says: Rail Rider AlertEast End Green Line riders, listen up: The Green Line is scheduled for a temporary service interruption between EaDo/Stadium and Altic/Howard Hughes stations, for a week starting on Monday, Nov. 14.  

The closure is due to signal improvement work. We’ll have shuttle buses labeled “800 Shuttle” to transport riders who are affected by the partial closure. Shuttle buses will be scheduled to run every 12 minutes.

Bus travel takes longer than train travel, so please allow extra time to reach your destination. We’ll also have staff on the street to help you. Find a bus bridge map here.

The signal improvement work being done will focus on axle counter malfunctions that have delayed both METRORail service and drivers at rail crossings. Watch a video of what drivers have encountered because of malfunctions.

The Green Line is expected to be fully operational at 3:25 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 21.

Thanks for riding METRO, and thanks for your patience.

Honoring Veterans with Free Rides

 Soldiers saluting with flag in background

If you’re a veteran, METRO wants to thank you for your service to our country and offer you free rides on Veterans Day on Nov. 11. 

All veterans and active military personnel may have their fares waived on our local buses, METRORail, Park & Ride service and METROLift. Simply inform fare inspectors or operators of your military service status and ride, courtesy of METRO. 

If you’re planning to attend the city of Houston’s annual “Houston Salutes American Heroes” Veterans Day celebration, be sure to take METRO, and plan your trip with our Rider Tools.

On Veterans Day, we are allowing our bus operators to wear their Armed Services caps or hats as a way for us to acknowledge their military service. 

To all vets: We salute you! And thank you for the sacrifices you have made to help keep our nation strong. Happy Veterans Day on Friday!

 

 

Green and Purple Lines Resume Service


Train on track with sign: Green/Purple Line service resumes 

If you ride the Green Line or the Purple Line, here’s some good news: We’ve resumed normal service this morning, four days ahead of schedule.

The hard work of the rail crews paid off, with our entire METRORail system operating for normal revenue service since 4 a.m. today.

We were forced to temporarily close the Green and Purple lines to implement signal improvements after axle counter malfunctions slowed rail service and delayed drivers at rail crossings.

Today, if you ride METRORail, local buses (not Park & Ride) or METROLift, you can ride free to your polling place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. So ride METRO, and exercise your right to vote on Election Day.

Find your polling place here.

Ride to the Polls for Free


 People in voting booths

Tomorrow is Election Day, and METRO wants to remind you we are offering free rides to the polls on local buses and trains.

Complimentary rides are being offered to all registered voters during polling place hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The free rides are on local buses, trains and METROLift only and do not include Park & Ride buses.

Don’t know your polling place? Please go to www.harrisvotes.org to find your polling place and see a voter specific ballot. Click here to find out what type of identification is required to vote. If you do not have an approved form of photo ID, you may apply for an Election Identification Certificate at no charge with the Department of Public Safety.

Be sure to exercise your right to vote – and let METRO take you to the polls for free.

Weekend Happenings with METRO Nov. 4-6, 2016


 Montage of events

This is a guest post by Darla Bell, manager of Strategic Analysis in Communications & Marketing. 

 

We’re between holidays for a short while, but never fear – you’ll never run out of weekend activities in this city of ours.  If you get out and about with “Remote Houston,” you’ll learn a lot about Houston that you probably didn’t know.  If that’s not your cup of tea, then I’m suggesting two lively theater experiences that will keep you laughing.  Whatever you decide to do, consider using METRO as your means to an end; your destination, that is.  Visit our online Trip Planner, and find the routes that work best to get you home and back again.  You’ll save some gas and parking money that you can use for theater tickets.  Have fun this weekend!

 

Event:  Remote Houston.  This is a really different – a “pedestrian-based live art experience” from the Alley Theatre folks - a two-hour walking tour of Houston with audio guidance.  You’ll start off by visiting an East End cemetery and end up back in the Theater District.  It’s about a three-mile walk, so be prepared with the right clothing and shoes, and bring water.  This event was so popular the first time it was offered that they’ve brought it back.  Purchase your tickets online, but they disappear fast.  If you can’t get them for this Friday, then try for another weekend.  The event continues Thursdays and Fridays through November 18.

 

When: Friday at 3 p.m.

 

Where: Alley Theatre box office, 615 Texas Ave.

 

Getting there*:

Bus – 11 Almeda/Lyons, 20 Canal/Memorial, 30 Clinton/Ella, 32 Renwick/San Felipe, 41 Kirby/Polk, 44 Acres Homes, 51 Hardy-Kelley, 52 Hardy-Ley , 82 Westheimer, 85 Antoine/Washington, 102 Bush IAH Express, 137 Northshore Express, 160 Memorial City Express, 161 Wilcrest Express, 162 Memorial Express

 

METRORail – Green Line or Purple Line (exit Theater District Station)

 

Event:  Tommy Tune Tonight.  This is a classic case of hometown boy makes good – really good.  Spend an evening with the dancing, singing and storytelling of Houston’s own Tommy Tune.  During more than 50 years in show business, he’s been a multiple-award-winning Broadway and film star, director and choreographer. There are too many shows to list all those with which he’s been affiliated.  This is a great chance to see Tune live without traveling to New York or Las Vegas.  Tickets are necessary only for the theater’s covered area, but admission is free.     

 

When: Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

 

Where: Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Dr.

 

Getting there*:

Bus – 5 Southmore (exit Binz & Crawford), 11 Almeda/Lyons (exit Almeda & Hermann Dr.), 56 Airline/Montrose (exit Main & Remington Ln.)

 

METRORail – Red Line, exit Hermann Park/Rice University

 

Event:  How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.  Need a good laugh?  Look no further than Theatre Under the Stars’ production of this classic musical that first opened on Broadway in 1961.  It’s the story of a young man who rises to the top of the corporate ladder in record time by using tips from a “how to get ahead” book.  Some of the issues might seem a little dated, but it’s definitely funny – and can show us how much working in the corporate world has changed for the better (?).  Tickets can be purchased online.

 

When: Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 ad 7:30 p.m.

 

Where: Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St.

 

Getting there*:

Bus – 32 Renwick/San Felipe (exit Travis & Rusk), 44 Acres Homes (exit Louisiana & Walker), 82 Westheimer (exit Travis & Rusk), 102 Bush IAH Express (exit Travis or Milam & Rusk), 160 Memorial City Express/161 Wilcrest Express/162 Memorial Express (exit Smith & Rusk)

 

METRORail – Red Line (exit Central Station), Green Line and Purple Line (exit Theater District Station)

 

*Suggested connections as provided by our Customer Care Center; more convenient routes may vary per individual needs.

 

 

 

Park & Ride Users Can Buy Tickets on Phone

Mobile ticketing for Park & Ride customers - cartoon image of cell phone figure with cape

Our mobile ticketing app just got smarter.

Now those of you who use our Park & Ride lots can buy your ticket right from your smart phone. Choose a single ride, then choose your zone. Fares vary by zone, ranging from $2 to $4.50.  You choose one of four zones, then buy a ticket.

You can buy tickets to use right away or for a future date.

Each mobile ticket comes with a three-hour transfer for the duration of the ticket. Plus, you’ll get five free rides for every 50 single-ride tickets purchased and activated.

Watch a video here for step-by-step instructions. It’s easy to buy your full-fare METRO Park & Ride bus ticket with our enhanced mobile ticketing app. Buy it any time, any place – 24/7.

 

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