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Recipe for Safe Holiday Travel
Poster: "Buckle Up, America"

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks – and traveling to the homes of loved ones and friends. The first ingredient for safe travels is: Buckle up.

That’s the message from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Seat belts save lives. Now you may be thinking, “Doesn’t everyone strap in?”

No, about half of us don’t. The NHTSA estimates that 49 percent of those killed every year in traffic accidents are not wearing seat belts. Failure to wear a seat belt contributed to the 301 deaths from traffic crashes that occurred during a recent Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to Fast Lane, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

When you wear your seat belt in the front seat, your risk of a fatality drops by 45 percent and by 60 percent when riding in a truck.

So when Aunt Beatrice asks what she can bring to the Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to sure to mention that first ingredient for her trip to your house: Buckle up. And when your guests leave after enjoying food and football, say goodbye and remind them to snap their seatbelts securely.  

That way everyone can have a happy Thanksgiving holiday weekend - and a safe one, too.

Holiday Hours for HOV/HOT Lanes

Close-up of baked turkey

Tomorrow is the busiest travel day of the year – and here at METRO, our HOV/HOT Lanes will have special hours. As you travel to your friends’ and relatives’ homes to celebrate the Thanksgiving weekend, please note our holiday hours.

Wednesday, Nov. 25:

·        Inbound lanes open from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.

·        All lanes closed from 10 to 11 a.m.

·        Outbound lanes open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27:

·        All lanes closed.

Saturday, Nov. 28 and Sunday, Nov. 29:

·        Inbound lanes open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Katy-CBD HOV ramp between Taylor/Studemont Street and Franklin Street downtown will operate around the clock. All three Diamond Lanes along US-59 Southwest Freeway (between SH-99 and W. Airport), I-10 Katy Freeway (between Mason Road and SH-6) and US-290 Northwest Freeway (between Barker Cypress and FM-1960) will operate in both directions, 24/7.

Get more details here.

Be safe as you travel this week – and Happy Thanksgiving to all our patrons!



Thanksgiving Day Schedule 2015

Thanksgiving Day centerpiece

As we gear up to celebrate the Thanksgiving Day holidays with family and friends, please note the METRO holiday schedule.

On Wednesday, Nov. 25, we will operate local bus routes on a regular weekday schedule. For those of you returning home from downtown on a Park & Ride bus, we’ll have buses running every 15 minutes on these six routes and every 30 minutes on the 326 Maxey Road/Baytown.

Otherwise, Park & Ride routes will operate their regular afternoon service starting approximately 3 p.m.

On Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, and the day after, Nov. 27, local buses will operate on a Sunday schedule. There will be no Park & Ride buses. METRORail will operate on a Sunday schedule.

The RideStore and Lost & Found will be open on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed from Thursday through Sunday.

For more details, please click here.

Weekend Happenings with METRO Nov. 20-22

Montage of events

Sunny days, blue skies and crisp temperatures have finally arrived, making it fun to explore all that Houston has to offer. This weekend you can browse among handcrafted items and get a jump start on your holiday shopping at a flea market or start the festive season at Zoo Lights, where thousands of lights create magic at the Houston Zoo.

Wherever you go, ride METRO to get there. You’ll save money on fuel and parking. Check out the Google Trip Planner to find your specific bus or train to your destination.

Event: Discovery Green Flea. This treasure hunt in a unique market features artful kitsch, vintage finds, mid-century modern furniture, repurposed items and collectibles. Check your list for who’s been naughty or nice, and select some unusual holiday gifts.

When: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Discovery Green Park, 1500 McKinney

Getting there:
Bus: 41 Kirby/Polk, 40 Telephone/Heights

METRORail: Green or Purple Line, exit Convention District Station

Event: “Sojourn in the Shadowlands.” Artist Michael Collins uses oil-on-linen and mixed media paintings on black-and-white photographs to reflect memories of the concentration camps of the Holocaust in Germany and Poland. Collins brings a spiritual and sometimes sacred aspect through his paintings.

When: Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Holocaust Museum, 5401 Caroline

Getting there:

Bus: 5 Southmore, 65 Bissonnet

METRORail: Red Line, exit Museum District Station

Event: Houston Zoo Lights. With more than two million lights, the zoo is transformed to a magical wonderland as you walk a beautifully lit path and view artistic creations. This is fun for a romantic date night or a treat for the whole family.

When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday – 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: Houston Zoo, 6200 Hermann Park Dr.

Getting there:
Bus: 28 OST/Wayside

METRORail: Red Line, exit Memorial Hermann Zoo Station

All College Students Get Discount

College coed holding stack of books

If you’re a college student, it’s just gotten easier to ride METRO.

All college students, no matter how many hours they’re taking, are now eligible to ride METRO at a 50 percent discount. Before, we required that a student be taking at least nine credit hours. Now there is no minimum number of hours a student needs to take in order to get the 50 percent discount.

College students can apply by mail and getting it signed and stamped by the school’s registrar. A new form will be posted soon. Or they can apply in person and show only one of the following:

·        Current class schedule and a fee receipt

·        Letter from the college verifying enrollment

·        Student METRO fare card registration signed and stamped by the school registrar

METRO is one of the city’s best bargains for students with rides on our local buses or trains costing only 60 cents one-way.

Burnett Transit Center Connects Commuters

Montage of Burnett Transit Center

An important rail-bus connection makes the commute for Houstonians easier.

The new Burnett Transit Center celebrated its grand opening last Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia, Board members Christof Spieler, Jim Robinson and Diann Lewter, along with State Rep. Carol Alvarado and community members.

Now Red Line passengers can exit at the Burnett Transit Center/Casa de Amigos Station, and then take the elevators down to the bus bays below. The Burnett Transit Center serves four routes: 3 Langley, 51 Hardy-Kelly, 52 Hardy-Ley and 79 W. Little York.

The Burnett Transit Center has six bus bays. Commuters with bikes can either lock their bikes at the bike racks or store their bikes in galvanized steel lockers. Amenities include security cameras, lighting, emergency assistance telephones, elevators and passenger pick-up/drop-off areas.

If you need a train or bus ticket, you’ll find a cashless point-of-sale ticket vending machine on the platform.

So check out our newest transit center. While you’re there, you’ll find a breathtaking view of the city’s skyline from the rail platform above.

METRO Offers Pre-application Workshop

Business executives at workshop 

METRO is looking for suitable projects that are deserving of federal funding.

This open “Call for Projects” is a call for transit-related projects by recipients that operate public transportation and are also eligible to receive money from the Federal Transit Administration.

As the designated recipient for several FTA grant programs, METRO is responsible for these funds and their distribution for transit purposes.   

If you work for a company or agency that fits that description, you’re invited to a workshop METRO is conducting tomorrow from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at our headquarters at 1900 Main St. on the second floor. This pre-application workshop will go over the process of applying and answer any questions you may have.

Projects must benefit the Houston Urbanized Area (UZA). The workshop is free, and no pre-registration is required.

If you can’t make the workshop, you may email questions to us at Deadline for written questions to be submitted is Nov. 20. Written responses will be published by Nov. 30.

All electronic applications must be submitted by Dec. 2. You may email your application to

Weekend Happenings with METRO Nov. 13-16

Montage of events

This weekend is packed with activities the whole family can enjoy – from dramatic drumbeats in a free concert to an arts and crafts fair that makes science fun.

Wherever you go to unwind this weekend, be sure to take METRO to get there. You’ll save money on gas and parking – and you can relax and text with no distractions. Check out the Google Trip Planner to find your specific bus to your destination.

Event: Recycled Percussion. This “junk rock” music is high-energy as this small-town band uses buckets, power tools and anything they can get their hands on to play entertaining and powerful beats. Free tickets are available the day of the performance from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Open seating on the hill.

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Dr.

Getting there:

Bus: 5 Southmore, 11 Almeda Lyons, 56 Airline Montrose, 65 Bissonnet

METRORail: Red Line, exit Hermann Park/Rice University Station

Event: Houston Mini Maker Faire. This family-friendly festival combine creativity and imagination with hundreds of things to see, learn, do and buy. You’ll find activities, crafts, robotics, inventions and the latest tech. From hand-crafted gifts to tech kits, explore this combo old-fashioned country fair and science fair.

When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: George R. Brown Convention Center, Hall B3, 1101 Avenida de las Americas

Getting there:

Bus: 41 Kirby/Polk, 40 Telephone/Heights

METRORail: Green Line or Purple Line, exit Convention District Station

Event: Houston Cinema Arts Festival. This festival devoted to films by and about artists in the visual, performing and literary arts uses live music and film performances, outdoor projections and more. Film screenings are at venues around the city, including the Architecture Center Houston, Café Brazil, Rice Cinema and the Menil Collection. This weekend, you can view many of the films at the Sundance Cinemas.

When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check schedule for various times.

Where: Sundance Cinemas, 510 Texas Ave.

It's Party Time! Rails to Restaurants

Montage of rail and food pictures

Come join METRO at the “Rails to Restaurants” event, a fun way to sample restaurants and entertainment along the rail.

This fourth annual event, co-sponsored by METRO and Houston Greeters, is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 16, from 5 to 9 p.m. and is designed to celebrate Houston’s Citizenship Month. Registration starts at 5 p.m. at the University of Houston-Downtown South Deck, followed at 5:30 p.m. with a kick-off party there that includes lives entertainment and lite bites and sips from Red Ox Grill, Lucky’s Pub, Asian Market Thai Restaurant, Beam Suntory, Saint Arnold Brewing Co. and Asian Market Restaurant.

At 6:20 p.m., hop on board METRORail and head to the Dynamo/East End Block Party. Dance away those calories with a Zumba class by Fit Mix – then nosh on appetizers by Ninfa’s, El Tiempo and Levy Restaurants with drinks by 8th Wonder Brewery.

At 7:30 p.m., ride the rail downtown to sample more delicious appetizers and desserts along Main Street. You’ll get to try Henke & Pilot, Bovine & Barley, District Bar & Bistro, Bombay Pizza Co., The Honeymoon Café & Bar, The Pastry War, Shay McElroy’s Irish Pub and the Moonshiners.

This is a great way to experience the rail. You can park your car at the UH-Downtown lot. To register ahead and buy tickets, please go to Eventbrite. You can also register and buy tickets on-site at UH-D South Deck at 5 p.m. on Monday.

Meet and Greet

Tomorrow if you’re at the Wheeler Transit Center, we’ll have the METRO Police reaching out to meet and greet you. 

We’ll be on hand to answer any questions and give out brochures on keeping our system safe. Come by and say hi from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We’ll show you how to use the #MPD on your cell phone to get help, plus we’ll have information on the “Outta Sight” cell phone campaign. 

MPD wants to make sure your experience riding METRO is a pleasant and safe one, so remember: If you see something, say something. The MPD police dispatch number is 713-224-COPS. 

Helps us work together as we make a positive difference in our community. 

METRO to Give Free Rides to Vets on Nov. 11

Silhouette of soldiers saluting 

Tomorrow, METRO is honoring all veterans by offering free rides on our buses and trains to all veterans.

We salute veterans and active military personnel by waiving fares on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. If you’re a veteran, you can ride on our local buses, METRORail, METROLift and Park & Ride buses for free. Simply let the fare inspectors or operators know you’re a veteran or active-duty member of the armed forces.

If you’re traveling to the city’s annual “Houston Salutes American Heroes” Veterans Day Celebration, please check out our Rider Tools to plan your trip. Learn more about the city’s initiative to offer resources to returning veterans at the Veterans Affairs Office.

To all our veterans, thank you for your service to our nation. And Happy Veterans Day tomorrow!


Call for Projects

If you work for a transit provider, your organization may be eligible to apply for federal grant money to help fund your project.

As a designated recipient for three
Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant programs, METRO is responsible for the distribution of about $89 million.

METRO is calling for projects for the Houston Urbanized Area. Applicants must be eligible for FTA funding to apply. METRO will conduct a pre-application workshop on Tuesday, Nov. 17, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at 1900 Main St. to answer any questions and guide you through the application process.

To find out more about the new project selection process, click here.

You can also email questions to Those submitted before Nov. 20 will be posted online with answers by Nov. 30.

Project proposals are due to METRO by Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. via electronic submittal to:, attention Mary B. Fay, director of Grant Programs. Late submittals will not be accepted.

Your Opinion Matters

Do you like our new website? How could it be better? 

We value your opinion - and would love it if you’d take the time to fill out our website survey here. We’ll ask you which three features you use most and which three are the most important to you. For example, are the top three features for you the Google Trip Planner, the streaming board meeting video and the job postings?

We’ll also ask you to rate the website on how helpful it is and how satisfied you are with it. You’ll also get to tell us how you like the new technology we recently launched, such as next bus texting.

Here’s your chance to tell us what you like and what you don’t. It will take just a few minutes to answer the questions. 

We’d love to hear from you. And thanks for taking the survey!

Public Hearing Scheduled Tomorrow, Nov. 4

Auditorium showing the back of audience

To improve your experience with METRO, we plan on tweaking routes and schedules during our normal service adjustments on Jan. 24 - but we want your input first.

METRO is scheduled to conduct a public hearing on service changes tomorrow at noon at 1900 Main St. on the second floor in our training room. The boardroom is unavailable for this meeting due to maintenance on our boardroom equipment. The meeting will be recorded and posted on our website here within 48 hours. It will not be streamed live since it is not being conducted in the boardroom.

Click here to read a summary or the entire book of proposed changes. For example, on the 6 Jensen/Greens, we are proposing adding a 4:04 a.m. southbound trip to meet customer demand. On the 8 West Belfort and the 9 Gulfton/Holman, we are planning to adjust running times for more reliable service.

On the 40 Telephone/Heights on weekdays, we are proposing more frequent service during peak hours, bringing a bus every 15 minutes instead of 20 minutes. On the 60 Cambridge, we are proposing adding two morning northbound trips on weekdays, along with two evening southbound trips between the TMC Transit Center and Holly Hall, so buses during commute hours won’t be so crowded.


Free Rides to the Polls

Buttons with "vote" on them

Tomorrow is Election Day, and METRO is making it easier to get to the polls: We are offering free rides on our local buses and trains to all registered voters.

Simply carry your voter registration card and show it to the bus driver, or be ready to show it to a fare checker on our trains. Not sure where to vote? Go to to find your polling location. The free rides do not apply to our Park & Ride buses.

Make your voice count tomorrow – and get to your polling place, courtesy of METRO.

Weekend Happenings Oct. 30-Nov. 1

Montage of events

This weekend is party time. For adults, Halloween weekend is an excuse to dress up and pretend to be someone else. For kids, it's a little bit of heaven on earth to collect piles of candy as they go trick-or-treating.

Wherever you go, be sure to take METRO to get there. You'll save money on fuel and avoid headaches trying to find parking. Please see the Google Trip Planner to find your specific bus or train to your destination.

Event: FirstFest. If you're looking for a fun, free event for the whole family, head over to FirstFest at Houston's First for an evening of rides, games, candy and more. And it's free. Wear costumes and show up for a blast. Food available for purchase.

When: Saturday, 4 to 8 p.m.

Where: The Loop, Fitness & Recreation Center, 7401 Katy Freeway

Getting there:

Bus: 84 Buffalo Speedway, 47 Hillcroft, 33 Post Oak, 70 Memorial

Event: Scream on the Green. Enjoy a spooky good time with Houston's citywide costume contest and family-friendly Halloween celebration. There'll be prizes and music, too.  Register for the costume contest by 7:30 p.m. at the Anheuser-Busch stage.

When: Friday, 6 to 10 p.m.

Where: Discovery Green Park

Getting there:
Bus: 41 Kirby/Polk, 40 Telephone/Heights

METRORail: Green or Purple Lines, exit Convention District Station

Event: Monsters' Museum of Houston.  Monsters galore will be roaming the halls as the Children's Museum of Houston converts itself into the Monsters' Museum. Find out how monsters have rummaged and scoured through the building to turn the museum upside down to bring you a hair-raising experience, allowing you to "catch monsters."

When: Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Children's Museum, 1500 Binz St.

Getting there:

Bus: 5 Southmore

METRORail: Red Line, exit Museum District Station


Driverless Shuttle for that Last Mile

The EZ10, a driverless shuttle

Imagine hopping on a driverless shuttle at your college campus or hospital complex or business park.

EZ10 is an electric driverless shuttle, using smart mobility to cover short distances and pre-defined routes. Made by EasyMile, the shuttle uses Robosoft software and robotics.

Starting as soon as December, the 250-acre Gardens by the Bay Park in Singapore will be using the EZ10 on a one-mile loop for a two-week trial with a complete roll-out expected in mid-2016. Closer to home in San Ramon, Calif., the Bishop Ranch business park is expected to start trial use in mid-2016.

Since 2008, this software technology has been providing shuttle services in recreational parks in Europe with more than 1.5 million passengers transported, including in Finland, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.  The lithium-ion battery that operates the EZ10 offers up to 12 hours of running and a range of up to 50 miles with an average cruising speed of up to 12 mph and a top speed of 25 mph.

Click here to watch a video.

Next Bus Texting

Cell phone with texting instructions

We're all more apt to take public transit if we can remove the uncertainty.

Now METRO has a tech tool that gives you the estimated next-bus arrival times at a particular bus stop.  No more waiting and wondering if you have time to run into that coffee shop for a quick caffeine fix. No more anxiety about whether you'll make that meeting on time.

First, find the unique bus stop number located at the lower left-hand corner of the bus stop signage. Send a text to this short code: 697433.

Enter the bus stop number, add a space and then enter the route you wish to ride. Then press send.  You'll receive the next-bus arrivals for all routes arriving at that location.

So go ahead and ride METRO with confidence. Now you have a way of finding out estimated next-bus arrivals in real time.

Weekend Happenings with METRO Oct. 23-25

Montage of events

This weekend, unwind to the violin music of Taylor Davis, a You Tube phenom, or enjoy a play about a prince who's out to prove himself. Or maybe you're looking for the perfect shelter for Rover. It's all here in the Bayou City - there's something for the whole family.

Wherever you go, be sure to take METRO. You'll save money on gas and parking, and you can text nonstop - unless you're on a date. Check out the Google Trip Planner to find your specific bus to your destination.

Event: 7th Annual Barkitecture Houston. This annual dog house designing event benefits Pup Squad Animal Rescue. You'll see one-of-a-kind, custom-built dog houses. Let your pet live in style in a dog house built by local artists, designers and architects.

When: Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: Green Street Downtown, 1201 Fannin

Getting there:

Bus: 52 Hardey-Ley, 137 Northshore Express, 11 Almeda/Lyons, 6 Jensen/Greens, 412 Greenlink Circulator (free), 51 Hardy-Kelly

METRORail: Red Line, exit at Main Street Square Station

Event: "Pippin." A young prince searches for the meaning of life and, in the process, embarks on challenges to prove himself. He gets involved in a war, switches sides and breaks hearts across the nation. Actors Patina Miller and Ben Vereen have each won a Tony for turns as the character called Leading Player.

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

Where: Hobby Center, 800 Bagby

Getting there:

Bus: 30 Clinton/Ella, 44 Acres Homes, 161 Wilcrest Express, 162 Memorial Express, 85 Antoine/Washington

METRORail: Green or Purple Lines, exit Theater District Station

Event: Taylor Davis.This classically-trained American violinist, arranger and composer launched her popular You Tube channel, "ViolinTay" in 2011. Since then, she's recorded more than 125 videos with 100 million views. Her most recent self-titled original album debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard Classical Charts.

When: Sunday, 7 p.m.

Where: House of Blues, 1203 Caroline St.

Getting there:

Bus: 52 Hardy-Ley, 137 Northshore Express, 11 Almeda/Lyons, 6 Jensen/Greens, 51 Hardy-Kelly, 40 Telephone/Heights, 41 Kirby/Polk

METRORail: Red Line, exit Main Street Square Station and walk three blocks.

Grand Parkway Parking Doubles

Next Monday, commuters at Grand Parkway Park & Ride can rejoice.

METRO has just doubled the parking spaces. We’ve increased parking spaces to 871 from 423. Now no more circling around like a vulture ready to pounce on the first empty slot you spy. 

We hope these extra parking spots will help alleviate the overcrowding triggered by rapid growth in Katy and the surrounding areas. We were able to create these new parking spaces by diligently working with neighbor Cinemark Theaters and landlord New Quest Properties to arrive at a solution. 

We’ll have staff at the Grand Parkway Park & Ride starting today through next Monday, giving out handouts about these parking upgrades and answering any of your questions. 

More good news: The METRO Board approved a plan to build a parking garage on site with 1,650 spaces. We expect this project to be completed next fall. 

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