The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County is reporting a 25% drop in monthly ridership numbers in March 2020 compared to March 2019, according to a report the transit provider released May 6.
Including the commuter and local network, METRO saw nearly 5.6 million riders use its METRORail, bus, and Park & Ride services in March 2020, down from 7.4 million at the same time last year.
According to a METRO spokesperson, the decline can be partly attributed to the "Stay Home Work Safe" order issued by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on March 24.
Subsequently, the transit provider suspended all Park & Ride routes except those serving the Texas Medical Center and made other service adjustments to its bus and rail schedules beginning March 30.
The reported drop in ridership comes as METRO has seen positive COVID-19 cases among 16 employees and two contractors since March 29 out of a total workforce of more than 4,200, according to METRO announcements.
April ridership numbers have yet to be released, and what these declines mean for METRO’s future policies and finances is unclear. METRO’s Finance & Audit Committee will meet May 21 to discuss the budget, while the board of directors will meet May 28.
METRO: March 2020 transit ridership down 25% compared to last year
METRO saw a 25% drop in monthly ridership numbers in March 2020 compared March 2019. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)