Houston Transit Ridership Highest Since the Pandemic Began

Ridership on Houston trains and buses rose sharply in March, thanks in part to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and a limited return to offices.

May 4, 2022, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Houston Metro Bus

Roy Luck / Flickr

Houston’s public transit system saw its highest ridership in March since the pandemic began, reports Dug Begley. “The increases were across most of Metro’s services, though the changes varied widely and were attributed by transit officials to various reasons.”

Some highlights from the month’s statistics:

  • “Light rail ridership averaged 35,675 people on weekdays, a 49 percent jump from March 2021.”
  • “Local bus use increased by 20 percent, with some major lines such as the Route 25 Richmond and Route 4 Beechnut increasing 30 percent or more from the previous year.”

Begley notes that “Transit use typically spikes in March because of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which leads to legions of light rail riders headed to NRG Park. The rodeo’s return after a two-year hiatus certainly contributed, [Metropolitan Transit Authority spokeswoman Tracy Jackson] said, but cannot account for commuter bus and local bus hikes in parts of the city.”

Still, ridership hasn’t rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. March’s 5 million trips were still “roughly a third shy of the 7.4 million taken in March 2019.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in The Houston Chronicle

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