Conroe residents can now access employment hubs, shopping and dining centers as well as medical services through the city's Conroe Connect bus line.
The bus service started Jan. 26, and has grown in popularity among residents who are learning to rely on the bus system during their daily routine, said Shawn Johnson, city of Conroe transportation manager.
The bus service mainly runs up and down Frazier Street and loops around the Dougan area. It stops near often-needed services, employers and shopping centers, such as Wal-Mart and Lowe's near north Hwy. 336, as well as the Lone Star Family Health Center and Conroe Regional Medical Center near south Hwy. 336. Johnson said one of the reasons the route was chosen was because of the evident paths left by pedestrians through dirt areas where there were no sidewalks.
"Our city has grown so much, and there is a very evident need to connect pedestrians and communities to services," Johnson said. "I am very proud that the bus goes to where it needs to for the people who will probably ride it."
Johnson said there are plans for expansion of the service as demand grows, and the city will conduct a rider survey by the end of the year to determine where riders may want to go. Johnson said if there is an expansion of the service, the line would likely travel east and west, connecting to more frequented facilities, such as schools and other community hubs.
"What resonates with me is that in learning how to use something like this you are learning to shift your dependency, and you are learning to trust a function of the city," Johnson said. "That is huge. From a city's perspective we want to make sure that we keep that relationship intact, that we don't make too many adjustments too quick, that we are not too presumptuous in our planning and we continue to engage the community."