The mission of Capital Metro’s Connections 2025 effort is to create a new service plan for our agency while moving transit forward in our region. Part of this process includes looking to other cities for best practices, lessons learned and potential pitfalls so we can fold appropriate nuances into our planning. Because, let’s be honest, nobody wants to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch.
In that spirit, we recently invited Houston Metro’s Vice President of Planning, Kurt Luhrsen, to speak to our board of directors. Last year, Houston unveiled New Metro, its reimagined New Bus Network. The goals of their plan included realigning the network to a grid; creating as many frequent routes as possible; making routes easy to understand; operating service seven days a week; utilizing existing vehicles facilities and resources where possible; and keeping operating costs neutral.
The end product of their reimagined network: Houston added 1,000 new bus stops–connecting an estimated million people to a million jobs on their frequent network. The board ultimately elected to increase their operating budget by 3 percent, in order to maintain fixed-route service for some areas with low and declining ridership.
So far, it’s working.
A year-over-year comparison of each month since the unveiled plan shows an increase in ridership. Houston continues to tweak service based on feedback of over-crowded vehicles and like all good service plans, service is constantly being evaluated.
Luhrsen’s presentation emphasized the importance of public participation EARLY. Here’s where YOU come in! Our survey will remain live through March 13th, and we encourage you take the time to fill it out here. This will allow us to incorporate your feedback at the front end of our planning. Please help us understand how our service could better meet your transit needs.
Public participation is paramount. If we are to see a future in motion, our effort will require the public’s active involvement.