METRO Houston has announced that it will be increasing its efforts to help stop the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19 during this critical time. In the coming days, the transportation service will start modifying the services to encourage patrons in participating in social distancing in an effort to “flatten the curve”. This goes for all bus routes, light rails, and Park & Rides.
According to METRO Houston, the efforts to contribute to social distancing will begin later this week during morning and evenings. Particularly because of the rush hours during these times. They stated that they will be added more busses to routes in condensed traveled areas to promote the lessening of crowds.
This will ensure that seating will be available to put distance between passengers, which METRO stated is the main priority. Up to 50% less seating will be available on buses.
During route times, operators will signs reading “please take the next bus.” At which patrons will have to wait for another bus at the stop to prevent side by side seating and create more distance.
Patrons using the METRORail, Park & Rides and METROLift should be prepared as it’s expected to reduce its capacities to prevent close contact between riders. This may contribute to delayed route times, and riders should make other ride plans according to their schedules. This may include altering travel schedules.
METRO Houston riders should also be aware that the METRO TRIP app and Next Bus Arrival Texting may have delays in accurate times. Patrons are advised to keep themselves updated by subscribing their real-time route data through METRO’s service alert system. Also, by checking METRO’s social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
If you have any questions METRO Houston’s customer service line can be reached at 713-635-4000.
METRO stated that they “understand the critical role public transportation provides for the region. The Authority is committed to continuing to provide service and will do so safely.”
Tips and Other Information for Riders
If you are symptom-free and are not included in the group of people considered high-risk, take these precautions when public transportation is necessary:
- Consider traveling when it’s off-peak hours
- When available, sit down instead of holding onto poles and handles
- When you get to your destination, immediately wash hands and use sanitizer when possible
The METRO Transit Authority has also stated that:
- They will be putting an even larger emphasis on disinfecting surfaces
- Displaying posters informing riders of public health officials’ recommendations concerning Coronavirus
- Communicating with riders by sending safety messages on service alerts
- They will remain closely in communication with local public health and emergency management officials to monitor any additional developments
METRO Houston’s concern with the public health of its passengers remains at the top of their list. Stating “Protecting the health and safety of patrons, employees and the community is METRO’s number one priority.”
They have also informed riders that while they frequently disinfect their vehicles and facilities, it’s important to use personal care to prevent the spread of the virus. They are encouraging individuals to practice in proper hygiene, hand washing, and staying home if you’ve become ill.