METRO: Transit ridership fell 53% in May compared to last year

METRO saw a 53% drop in total monthly ridership in May 2020 compared to last year. Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
METRO saw a 53% drop in total monthly ridership in May 2020 compared to last year. Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County

METRO saw a 53% drop in total monthly ridership in May 2020 compared to last year. Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County

May numbers released by the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County on June 24 report a more than 50% drop in ridership numbers compared to last year.

Including the commuter and local network, about 3.4 million riders utilized METRO transport in May, down from 7.2 million a year ago, according to the report.

Ridership on local buses, light rail, and passenger numbers for Park & Ride were all down significantly by an average of 49%.

The ridership decline has remained steady for the last few months, since March, when METRO reported nearly 5.6 million riders using its METRORail, bus, and Park & Ride services, a nearly 25% drop from 7.4 million at the same time last year. April fared worse, with a nearly 58% drop year over year in ridership, with 3.1 million riders compared to 7.3 million the year before.

The transit authority’s sales tax revenue has taken a hit as well, according to a June 17 finance and audit committee report.


According to the report, METRO received sales tax revenue in June totaling $53.5 million, $10.6 million less than last year, and $9.8 million under what was estimated. June sales tax revenue is from April sales activity.





In its local network overview, METRO noted the major contributing factor to the significant ridership decrease comes as a result of COVID-19.

Other factors that contributed negatively to ridership referenced in the report include a calendar mix of two fewer weekdays for service and one more Saturday and Sunday relative to the previous year, the effect of Harris County’s “Stay Home, Work Home” order and service level adjustments.

The ridership decline comes as METRO continues to see employees and contractors testing positive for the virus.

For example, a June 25 news release from the transit authority announced three bus operators, a systems specialist, a First Transit contract street supervisor, and a service coordinator and contract administrator tested positive for COVID-19. With those new cases, the total number of positive cases within the transit authority number 50 METRO employees and 11 contractors. Twenty-five of the employees had no contact with the public.

METRO also set in place a new rule June 25 requiring all riders, employees, contractors and visitors to wear a face covering in all vehicles, facilities and transit centers. As a result, the transit authority will return to fare collection beginning July 12.

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

key in door lock
Evictions continue in Houston as new measures aim to stem tide

Over 32,000 eviction cases were filed in Harris County courts in 2020.

Houston City Hall in rainbow lighting
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrates five years of service

The organization is open to all and serves members throughout the Greater Houston area.

The new Fort Bend Epicenter multipurpose facility could be used as a spot for trade shows and sporting events, could act as a large-scale shelter for county residents in an emergency and more. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Large multipurpose complex coming to Fort Bend County; Sugar Land to widen University Blvd. and more top Houston-area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather. (Community Impact staff)
Q&A: Greater Houston Builders Association President Keith Luechtefeld discusses power, plumbing, frozen pipes after Winter Storm Uri

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather.

Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys will bring a new “H-Town Originals” sandwich to Houston in collaboration with Dr. Peter Hotez, chair of Tropical Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital, co-director of Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development, and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. (Courtesy Liana Bouchard/Legacy Restaurants)
Antone’s Po’ Boys to bring new Dr. Hotez sandwich to Houston

Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys will donate 50% of proceeds from the sales of the sandwich to support the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.

Winter Storm Uri led to closures across the Greater Houston area during the third week of February. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)
‘It’s been a rough year for us’: Expert explains economic effects of winter storm, ongoing pandemic in Houston region

“It's been a rough year for us economically; it's been a rough year for us public health wise. It's just been a rough year for us psychologically—first the coronavirus and then the freeze," said Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research with the Greater Houston Partnership.

Rothko Chapel
Rothko Chapel marks 50 years with event series

Houston art patrons John and Dominique de Menil first revealed Rothko Chapel to the public over three days 50 years ago, Feb. 26-28, 1971.

The $560 million central processor, which is part of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, will replace the parking garage for terminals D and E. (Courtesy Houston Airport System)
Parking garage at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to be demolished to make way for new Mickey Leland International Terminal

The international central processor, which is part of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, will replace the parking garage for terminals D and E.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.