Correction: Kerrville Bus Company does not provide services to The Woodlands Township, as a previous version of this article stated.
A three-year pilot program with Kerrville Bus Company that will give Pearland its first park and ride commuter service received unanimous City Council approval on Monday, with service beginning in less than three months.
The pilot comes after years of unsuccessful attempts to partner with the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County.
Under the three-year contract, Kerrville Bus Company will provide the entire program at no initial cost to the city. Rates have not been finalized, but Assistant General Manager Shaun Sexton told the City Council it would be around $6.50 per trip, with a 20 percent discounted rate for those who purchase a monthly pass.
The first day of the pilot will be Aug. 20.
The proposed schedule, which may change prior to launch and throughout the pilot program, has service starting from the Sports Complex at Shadow Creek Ranch starting at 5:45 a.m. with buses leaving every 15 minutes until 9:30 a.m. Riders will be able to reach downtown and TMC, with stops aligning with METRO services if riders need to go elsewhere.
“The next steps are to meet with Kerrville and refine the schedule, refine the cost of fares, refine our security plans,” Deputy City Manager Jon Branson said.
The city will also provide input on marketing and branding for the buses and use city resources to help promote the service, such as its website, social media and events.
Branson emphasized that as a pilot program, the initial schedule and location are not set in stone. As demand warrants, the city could add a pickup/dropoff location in central or east Pearland, for example, he said.
“It’s a pilot. It’s not going to provide what everyone needs at first. Will it need to be tweaked? Absolutely. Our goal is to serve as many people as possible,” Branson said.
As Branson told Community Impact in April, the fear is that the program will be so successful that expansion, such as additional parking at the Sports Complex and adding additional pickup areas, will need to be funded.
Once the program is established, Branson said, the city will be eligible for transportation grants to further support the program.
View the proposed schedule and routes in the documents below.