METRO begins test runs for rapid transit service through Uptown district
The new METRORapid service began testing along Post Oak Boulevard in May. The bus rapid transit service is the first of its kind in Houston, and the transit agency expects to eventually have up to 75 miles of corridors dedicated to it. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Called the METRORapid Silver Line, the expedited bus service runs along Post Oak Boulevard, from the Northwest Transit Center at 7373 Old Katy Road, Houston, to the Westpark/Lower Uptown Transit Center, at 5105 Westpark Drive, Houston, through the Galleria area, according to METRO’s website. Both transit centers are still under construction.
Faster connections and a more convenient ride are the touted benefits of the METRORapid service, according to METRO, with a bus that sports a modern design that offers enhanced accessibility, with wider doorways and level boarding because the service will use stations and a rail-like platforms. In addition, METRORapid will use a dedicated bus-only lane to move through traffic and will have priority at traffic lights, according to METRO.
METRO began testing the week of May 4 and includes testing its METRORapid vehicles for clearance around trees, entry and egress at every cross street, curves, docking procedures, platform approach and signal operation, in addition to other operational considerations, according to METRO. The transit provider will also review emergency planning, signage and location of temporary bus stops.
The first phase of testing is scheduled to run through mid-to-late June, with a subsequent secondary testing phase with METRORapid vehicles performing simulated service. Revenue service is tentatively scheduled to begin in mid-August.
Service will operate from 5 a.m. to midnight daily every 10 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes in the evening. Fare will be $1.25.
Under a November 2019 bond referendum, METRO plans to bring 75 miles of bus rapid transit to the Houston area over the next 20 years.