METRO reduces Park & Ride service, closes HOV lanes; two employees test positive for COVID-19

METRO
METRO has updated its service list amidst an announcement that two of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)

METRO has updated its service list amidst an announcement that two of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County has suspended all Park & Ride routes, except those serving the Texas Medical Center, and has made other adjustments to its bus and rail schedules, effective March 30, the transit agency announced.

This comes as two employees with the transit provider tested positive for COVID-19, according to a March 29 news release. The first employee works in the METROLift dispatch area, and was last on the job March 26. They did not interact with the public, according to the announcement. The second employee is a bus operator and was lost on the job March 25. The operator drove the 412 Greenlink Circulator Route from 6 a.m. to 2:17 p.m. on these days: March 9,10, 11,12, 13, 16, 17,18,19, 20 and 23. They also drove the 247 Fuqua Park & Ride from 6:18 a.m. to 9:17 a.m. on March 24 and 25.

“METRO is working with public health officials so they can identify and notify anyone who rode the bus on these routes in the last 14 days,” the transit provider said in the news release.

The modified service list is one in a string of changes METRO has made in efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the Greater Houston area. Since March 20, the provider has encouraged social distancing on its buses through placing tags on bus and rail routes to reduce the number of available seats by 50 percent, as well as adding vehicles on heavily traveled routes. On March 23, METRO began back-door boarding, and temporarily suspended collecting fares to avoid unnecessary contacts.

The new service adjustments are listed below:


Park & Ride

  • The following Park & Ride routes serving the Texas Medical Center will operate on a regular weekday schedule:

    • 170-171 Missouri City Express/Fort Bend Town Center

    • 292 West Bellfort/Westwood/TMC

    • 297 South Point/Monroe/TMC

    • 298 Kingsland/Addicks/NWTC/TMC



  • 291 Conroe Park & Ride will only run 6:30 a.m. inbound and 4:30 p.m. outbound trips.




  • All other Park & Ride service is suspended.


Local Bus/ Community Connectors


  • Local bus routes will continue to run on a modified Saturday Schedule seven days a week.

  • Red and Blue routes will be reduced to service every 30 minutes.

  • Green Routes will follow their normal Saturday schedule.

  • Route designations can be found on bus stop signs.

  • Community Connector routes will continue to operate.


METRORail


  • The Red Line will operate a modified Sunday schedule every 12 minutes.

  • The Purple Line will run on a modified Sunday schedule every 18 minutes.

  • The Green Line will run bus shuttles every 20 minutes.

  • The Texas Medical Center rail shuttle from Fannin South to Hermann Park/Rice U station will operate every 12 minutes during weekday morning and afternoon peak times.


HOV/HOT Lanes


  • All HOV/HOT Lanes will be closed.


METROLift


  • The number of passengers in each vehicle is being reduced to allow social distancing which may extend wait times.


Social Distancing


  • Seating on METRO vehicles has been reduced by 50 percent.

  • Boarding and exiting is through the rear door unless accessibility needs require front door entry.

  • As employers and schools adhere to the Stay Home Order, METRO ridership has decreased allowing for more space among passengers. (Total fixed route ridership Thursday, March 26, 2020 was 130,000 boardings, down 53 percent from one year ago)

  • Fares are suspended temporarily.

  • METRO RideStore locations are currently closed.

By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


MOST RECENT

New statewide maps will go into effect Jan. 18, 2022. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
Gov. Abbott approves new voting maps for state legislature, Congress, school districts for next decade

The maps will go into effect Jan. 18, 2022, after the state legislature passed them during a 30-day special session.

Houston nonprofit Theatre Under the Stars will look to open a new education and arts center as an anchor tenant in the new Ion District in Midtown. (Courtesy Melissa Taylor/Theatre Under the Stars)
Theatre Under the Stars announces eventual opening of new education, arts center at Midtown Ion District

The nonprofit has announced it is seeking to build a new building that will eventually serve as an anchor tenant in Midtown’s new Ion District.

The statewide job fair will connect veterans to employers as well as other resource providers. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Statewide job fair aims to connect Texas veterans and their families to employers

The job fair is coming to local Texas Workforce Solutions offices, some of which are having early admission for veterans and their families.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Texas Medical Center coronavirus updates: Average daily hospitalizations continue decline, drop below 100 since early July

For the first time since early July, the average number of daily coronavirus hospitalizations at Texas Medical Center hospitals has dropped below 100.

Teso Life currently has a location in Carrollton near another 99 Ranch Market and other Asian businesses and restaurants. (Matt Payne/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Japanese department store Teso Life coming to Frisco; New Braunfels’ Gruene Hall set as backdrop for Scotty McCreery music video and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 25.

Child on a computer.
Texas Education Agency accepting applications for $1,500 grants for students in special education

To be eligible for the grant, students must be enrolled in pre-K through 12th grade in a Texas public school and served by a special education program.

Amazon is hiring for thousands of seasonal jobs statewide across its operations department. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon hiring for thousands of seasonal jobs throughout Texas

It is that time of year when people look for seasonal jobs as the holidays approach. Amazon aims to meet that demand by hiring for thousands of seasonal positions throughout Texas.

The first-ever Williamson County Fair and Rodeo opens its gates to guests Oct. 21 with live music, carnival rides, food vendors, rodeo events and more. (Courtesy Pexels)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo underway; delivery drones coming to Frisco and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 22.

Artist Joni Zavitsanos is looking to bring faces to the names of those who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with her exhibit that will be on display through Jan. 31. (Courtesy Joni Zavitsanos)
Commemorative COVID-19 exhibit opens at The Health Museum

Houston-area residents who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are being memorialized in a new exhibit now on display at John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Science in Houston.

From left: Laura Ryan, Eliza Paul and Craig Raborn discuss the future of the Texas Department of Transportation. (Sierra Rozen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Department of Transportation discusses I-45 expansion, vehicle fatalities at annual event

The Texas Department of Transportation held its fifth annual State of TxDOT event Oct. 21 to discuss the I-45 expansion, plans for the future and safety issues facing Texans.

Sweet Paris will relocate from its current location in Rice Village. (Courtesy Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café)
Crepe-focused Sweet Paris to relocate within Rice Village

Sweet Paris will move to a new space at 5411 Morningside Drive.