Friday, April 12, 2013

METRORail Passes 100 Million Boardings Mark

U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee speaks to a large crowd during a celebration for METRORail's 1

I went downtown Tuesday to run some errands that required me to ride the METRORail to do so.  I was pleased to find out that my rail trip was free.

I missed the April 9 ceremony they had at METRO headquarters right next to the Red Line where it crosses under the Pierce Elevated (I-45) to celebrate achieving the 100 million METRORail boardings milestone 4 years ahead of schedule.

All trips on the METRORail were gratis for the entire day until midnight in celebration of achieving the milestone.

METRORail only has at the moment (no thanks to Tom DeLay and the Republicans obstructing the federal funding) the starter 7.5 mile long Red Line that opened for service in January 2004 just before the Super Bowl.   It runs from UH Downtown (where I'll be part of a panel discussion on the 17th) to the Fannin South Transit Center just past Reliant Park (the Dome, Reliant Arena and Reliant Stadium complex).  That line also passes Rice University, Hermann Park, the Texas Medical Center and through the Museum District as well.

METRORail accomplished the feat with 18 Siemens S70 rail cars (and no backup cars) that have traveled more than four million miles in their nine years of operation.  METRORail is now starting to take delivery through 2013 and work into service 19 additional Siemens S70 H2 rail cars in preparation for the opening of two new lines and the 5.3 mile Red Line extension to the Northline Transit Center.  

Edgar Casares, a guitar on player with Mariachi Calmecac, plays with his grupo during METRORail's 10The two new lines under construction in addition to the Red Line extension are the 3.3 mile Green Line that starts in the Theater District and terminates at the Magnolia Park Station in the East End.  

The 6.1 mile long Purple Line terminates a mere six blocks from my house and passes the University of Houston, Minute Maid Park, Discovery Green, and joins with the Green Line at BBVA Compass Stadium to terminate on the west side of downtown in the Theater District.  

Been keeping close tabs on the construction of these new METRORail lines that supposed to be operational in 2014.  There are two additional lines, the Blue and Gold in the planning stages.  The Blue Line will be a much needed east-west one that will run from the Hillcroft Transit Center to the Eastwood Transit Center just past the University of Houston.  The Gold Line will run north-south from Bellaire through the Galleria area to the Northwest Transit Center 

We'll see if that promised 2014 start date happens, but the 100 million boardings in just 9 years of operation is a sign that Houstonians have no problem riding the rails if the trains quickly and safely take you where you need to go.

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