An Overview of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
History & Future
The Texas State Legislature authorized the creation of local transit authorities in 1973. In 1978, Houston-area voters created METRO and approved a one-cent sales tax to support its operations. METRO opened for business in January 1979. The Authority has transformed a broken bus fleet into a regional multimodal transportation system.
Communities that are part of the METRO area include the cities of Houston, Bellaire, Bunker Hill Village, El Lago, Hedwig Village, Hilshire Village, Humble, Hunters Creek, Katy, Missouri City, Piney Point, Southside Place, Spring Valley, Taylor Lake Village and West University Place. Major portions of unincorporated Harris County are also included.
In development since 2001, Regional Transit Plan is a comprehensive transit system plan to help solve the Greater Houston region's traffic congestion and air quality problems. The plan was crafted with extensive input from the public, METRO's regional transportation partners and mobility experts nationwide. The plan was adopted by the METRO Board of Directors in July 2003 and approved by voters in November 2003.The first phase began construction in 2008 and continues today.
The plan calls for major multimodal transit improvements across the region. Key components of the plan include:
23 Miles of Light-rail Transit
Red Line (North)
- 13 miles. The 5.3 mile-extension was completed and opened in December 2013
- Runs from Fannin South to Northline/HCC
Purple Line (Southeast)
- Construction In Progress
- Anticipated Completion Date: April 2015
- Southeast Corridor, from Downtown Houston to vicinity of Martin Luther King at Griggs
- 6.6 Miles
Green Line (East End)
- Construction In Progress
- Anticipated Completion Date: April 2015
- East End, from Downtown Houston to Magnolia Transit Center
- 3.3 Miles
Uptown Houston (Harris County Improvement District No. 1) is proposing a Post Oak Boulevard reconstruction from I-610 North to Richmond Avenue in the south. It will include bi-directional dedicated bus lanes (DBL) running down an expanded median. Buses would arrive every five minutes during peak traffic and connect commuters from to Uptown businesses via buses at the Northwest Transit Center and the proposed Bellaire Uptown Transit Center.
Accelerate other components of the 2025 Regional Transit Plan to provide more regional service, including 28 Miles of Commuter Rail:
- US 90A/Environmental Impact Study
- US 90A/Southwest Rail Corridor extends approximately eight miles from the Fannin South Station at the southern end of the existing METRORail Red Line to the vicinity of West Sam Houston Tollway (Beltway 8) in Missouri City, Texas.
Other Projects in Development:
- US 290 connecting to Northern Facility
- Galveston Line
40 Miles of Signature Bus/Suburban Bus Rapid Transit
Fast crosstown service using specially designated stops/"stations," queue jumpers and designated buses that together provide a cohesive, recognizable route serving activity centers and defined destinations:
- Southeast Transit Center to Texas Medical Center
- SwiftLine Service Launched in August 2009
Other Signature Bus/Suburban Bus Rapid Transit Projects In Development
- US 249/Tidwell Route
- Gessner Route
- Uptown Houston to US 90A Commuter Rail Line
Conversion to dual direction tolled facilities in major corridors in existing Bus/HOV Corridors began in January 2011. HOT lanes will be established on I-45 North and South, US 59 North and South and US 290.
Red Line Capacity Upgrade
Upgrades to allow additional capacity to meet the growing demand for the system, including additional vehicles and operating facility/running facility improvements.
Lee P. Brown METRO Administration Building
1900 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77002
METRO has over 3,550 employees.
METRO Board of Directors
The Board of Directors has nine members. Five are nominated by the Mayor of Houston and confirmed by the Houston City Council. Two are appointed by the mayors of METRO's 14 other member cities. Two are nominated by the Harris County Judge and confirmed by the County Commissioners.
Monthly Board Meetings are typically held at 9 a.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month in the Lee P. Brown METRO Administration Building, 1900 Main St., 2nd Floor.
Operations & Support Facilities
810 N. San Jacinto Street
Houston, TX 77002
4175 Uptown Drive
Houston, TX 77045
5555 Deauville Plaza Drive
Houston, TX 77092
1220 McCarty Street
Houston, TX 77029
5700 Eastex Freeway
Houston, TX 77026
5700 Polk Street
Houston, TX 77023
111 Fallbrook Drive
Houston, TX 77038
|METROLift Contract Facility
Houston, TX 77029
|Rail Operations Center (ROC)
1601 West Bellfort
Houston, TX 77054
|Field Service Center
Houston, TX 77029
3920 North Freeway
Houston, TX 77022
11555 Westpark Drive
Houston, TX 77082
METRO has 1,230 buses. With an extensive network of bus routes and convenient Park & Ride facilities helping to ease rush-hour commutes, the METRO Bus System keeps the Houston region moving. METRO is paving the way for a cleaner Houston with 443 transit diesel-hybrid buses in operation. Since 2003, METRO has been actively working to improve the air we breathe with state-of- the-art technology that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 50 percent and offers substantial savings in fuel. Hybrid technology is METRO’s current choice for vehicles and each year, as part of its fleet replacement plan, METRO purchases 100 buses.
The Red Line (North) is a 13-mile light-rail service running from Northline Transit Center/HCC to Fanning South. Its 25 stations include stops to the University of Houston-Downtown, downtown, midtown, the Museum District, Hermann Park/Houston Zoo, Texas Medical Center and NRG Park.
From Sunday to Thursday, the last northbound train from Fannin South departs at 11:24 p.m. and the last southbound train from Northline/HCC departs at 12:29 a.m. On Friday and Saturday, the last northbound train from Fannin South departs at 1:40 a.m. and the last southbound train from Northline/HCC departs at 2:40 a.m.
METRORail hours of operation are 4:30 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 4:30 a.m. to 2:20 a.m. Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 2:20 a.m. Saturday, and 5:30 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. Sunday. Parking is available at the Fannin South Park & Ride, adjacent to the Fannin South Rail Station, as well as various points along the rail line.
METROLift is a complementary paratransit service offered by the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County in accordance with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). METROLift provides transportation for persons with disabilities who cannot board, ride or disembark from a regular METRO fixed-route bus, even if that bus is equipped with a wheelchair lift or ramp. METROLift is a curb-to-curb service, with assistance beyond the curb provided when needed, due to disability.
Call METROLift customer service at 713-225-0119 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays to obtain eligibility materials or download from this website.
One-way tickets cost $1.15, a book of 10-tickets cost $9.75 that can be purchased at the METRO RideStore, by mail and local grocery stores (call store ahead to verify).
METROLift eligible riders must make reservations one day in advance by calling reservations at 713-225-6716, Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. for next day trips, or Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. for trips on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Scheduling assistance is available through the dispatch office on weekends and holidays. Or use MACS or MACS-WEB 7 days a week from 5 a.m. – 5 p.m. for next day service.
A High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane is a barrier-protected lane - usually in the median of a freeway - that is open to buses, vanpools/carpools and motorcycles. The lanes, which are accessed via freeway or facility ramps, are reversible to accommodate commuters during peak periods of traffic flow. Users must observe the occupancy requirements, rules of the road and hours of operation.
HOV lanes operate on the Southwest, Gulf, North, Eastex and Northwest freeways.
HOV lanes are open 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday for inbound traffic, and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday for outbound traffic. A minimum occupancy of two people is required on the HOV lane system (a minimum of three occupants is required during morning rush hours on the Northwest HOV lanes).
Since 2001, METRO also has been operating concurrent-flow Diamond HOV Lanes, which are identified by diamond-shaped icons in a lane separated from main-lane traffic by double solid white lines. Diamond HOV Lanes in the METRO service area are located on the Katy Freeway between Texas Highway 6 and Texas Highway 99 (Grand Parkway) in Katy.
Park & Ride Lots
METRO has 29 Park & Ride lots with more than 33,000 available parking spaces. Direct nonstop service to Downtown, the Texas Medical Center or other major employment centers in the METRO service area is available from Park & Ride lots. Park & Ride facilities also serve as staging areas for vanpools and carpools.
Transit Centers are sheltered waiting areas located where several bus routes and/or METRORail converge. METRO's 20 Transit Centers serve as efficient "hubs" to allow bus and/or METRORail riders from various locations to assemble at a central point to take advantage of express trips or other route-to-route transfers. Our clean, safe and comfortable transit centers provide bus and/or METRORail patrons with a wider selection of destinations through greater transfer opportunities and offer their respective communities a permanent presence of transit service. Transit Centers feature a mixture of Park & Ride and Local bus service, as well as limited METRORail service. Limited parking - approximately 2,400 spaces - is available at select transit centers.
Customer Care Center - Customer Care Representatives can provide METRO service information. Call 713-635-4000:
Monday - Friday 6 a.m. - Midnight
Saturday - Sunday 8 a.m. - Midnight
Bilingual CCC personnel are available to provide service information in many languages.
Lost & Found - METRO's Lost & Found personnel work hard to help reunite customers and their valuables. Depending on the approximate value of the found item, METRO will hold it for 30 to 60 days (after which time, personal items are destroyed, while items in usable condition are donated to area charities). To assist METRO personnel in locating lost items, patrons are encouraged to record the route name/number, approximate time and bus/train I.D. number (if possible). For more information click here.
www.ridemetro.org - Navigate through our website to discover information on schedules, fares, bus and rail services, many different maps of our system, Park & Ride and Transit Center locations, special events, detours, job opportunities, business opportunities and public meetings. Can't find it? Try our search function.
Employer and Commuter Services
METRO provides a variety of information and services to area employers and employees, such as commuter tax benefit information, organizing vanpools/carpools, computerized ride matching, origin/destination mapping and on-site events.
RideSponsor - This program helps area companies and groups encourage employees and members to ride METRO as a way to relieve demand for parking and improve air quality. For information, call 713-739-3795.
RideShare - This free program provides RideShare matching services for commuters to form vanpools and carpools anywhere in the eight-county region. METRO's network of HOV lanes is used to bypass congestion and allow commuters to get to work or home faster. For information about RideShare, call 713-224-RIDE, or toll-free, 1-888-606-RIDE.
METRO STAR (vanpool) - If a group has at least seven people willing to leave behind their cars and ride together, the group is eligible for STAR service and incentives to help underwrite the cost of the vanpool. STAR is ideal for those who live or work where METRO bus service is not available. Vanpooling helps save on daily travel expenses such as parking and the wear and tear on personal vehicles. Vanpools that begin or end anywhere in the eight-county region are eligible for monthly incentives. For more information, call 713-224-RIDE, or toll-free, 1-888-606-RIDE.
Emergency Ride/Guaranteed Ride Home - Qualified METRO commuters can get home in the middle of a workday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, should they have an emergency and there is no midday bus service available on their route. METRO will arrange free immediate transportation, usually a taxi ride. Errands or other nonemergencies do not qualify. For more information or to register for this program, call 713-224-RIDE or visit METRO's website.
Regional Mobility Improvements
Motorist Assistance Program (MAP) - METRO, the Harris County Sheriff's Department, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the Houston Automobile Dealers Association and Verizon Wireless sponsor the MAP with trucks and vans, which are staffed by METRO Police and Harris County Sheriff's Office deputies. The MAP vehicles, which display the sponsors' logos, patrol about 150 miles of freeway around Houston. The MAP service operates from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays to relieve freeway congestion by assisting with disabled vehicles and traffic accidents. MAP vehicles are equipped with gasoline, water, hand tools, jumper cables and push bumpers. Call for a MAP van by dialing 713-CALL MAP to report a stalled vehicle or an accident. For Verizon Wireless phone customers, the call is free.
Street Construction - METRO plays a major role in construction projects throughout the Greater Houston region,
allocating $100 million annually to the City of Houston, Harris County and the
|Hearing and Speech Impaired
|METROLine/Customer Care Center
|Lost & Found
Learn More About METRO
6922 Old Katy Road
Houston TranStar is the regional transportation and emergency management center for the greater Houston area. METRO Police work closely with state and local authorities through TranStar to plan, design, operate and maintain transportation and emergency management functions throughout the region. TranStar provides up-to-date emergency information during times of crisis including road closures, alternate routes and evacuation procedures if necessary. TranStar is also home to METRO Police Communications operations, which include managing the camera surveillance of METRO Park & Ride lots, police dispatch, and coordination with the City of Houston’s SafeClear towing program. Houston TranStar >>