Houston's First Bus Rapid Transit Line Sees Low Ridership

Hindered by the pandemic and other factors, ridership numbers have been disappointingly low on the city's first BRT, but Metro officials are undeterred in their plans for future BRT lines.

1 minute read

March 10, 2022, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Houston Metro Bus

Roy Luck / Flickr

Houston's new Silver Line bus rapid transit (BRT) line is seeing disappointingly low ridership in its first year and a half of operation, reports Dug Begley. "The line, which comes every 12 minutes and avoids Galleria-area congestion, is a vital route for those using it, but carrying less than 10 percent of the riders it was built for on opening day." The line is serving fewer than 800 riders a day, far fewer than the 12,000 daily riders predicted by Metro. "Park and ride service, which was expected to be a big lure for commuters into Uptown to hop the Silver Line, dropped from 33,000 trips on a typical day in the region to fewer than 4,000 when the BRT began operating on Post Oak."

But the city's transit officials are cautiously optimistic about the future of its other BRT projects, calling them "50-year projects" whose ridership will grow with time. "Many of those plans feed into major routes, including the Silver Line. As part of the $7.5 billion plan approved by voters in 2019, Metro anticipates making high occupancy toll lanes along many freeways bi-directional, meaning bus lanes both ways for park and ride lines to Uptown and downtown Houston, feeding into the Uptown transit center."

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