Skip to comments.Latenight rail service's fate riding on Metro evaluation Low ridership could spell end to last call
Posted on 12/05/2004 11:30:38 PM PST by weegee
RIDING THE RAIL Late-night rail service's fate riding on Metro evaluation Low ridership could spell end to 'last call' trains
By LUCAS WALL
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
Late-night bar patrons downtown might be running out of time to use the train as their designated driver.
Metro is reviewing whether to continue late rail service on Friday and Saturday nights. The extended weekend hours began in June at the request of city officials and downtown businesses who hoped the availability of the rail ride might lure more customers. It hasn't happened.
"Ridership has been disappointing, but Metro leadership is now working to develop ways we might work with the downtown business community to build enough ridership to support it," said Metropolitan Transit Authority spokesman Ken Connaughton.
The transit authority originally had planned to run trains until 2:15 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights for three months and then decide whether to make the extended hours permanent. Nearly six months have passed, but Connaughton said Metro wants to give the "last call trains" a longer evaluation period.
Texas law mandates that bars stop selling alcohol at 2 a.m. Prior to June, MetroRail stopped running about 12:45 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, just as it does the rest of the week.
Bar and club owners along the Main Street entertainment area on downtown's north side requested the extra service. They said that stopping trains before last call on busy Friday and Saturday nights left some customers stranded and gave those who wanted to party late little choice but to drive their cars into downtown potentially raising the risk for drunken driving.
But MetroRail statistics show an average of only 154 boardings per night along the 7 1/2 -mile route during the 12:45-to-2:15 a.m. time frame. That's roughly 15 passengers per train.
One thing's for sure, this should help keep Metro's national crash record from being that much greater.
They were tied with SF from a few years ago (there goes the allegation that it is because the yokels in Houston don't know how to drive, especially around a trolley). That stat though was comparing a full year operation of SF's long implemented system to a single track running through Houston for less than a year's time.
Knowing METRO, the cleaning ladies are probably all sleeping on the job.
Efficient, effective cops? In your dreams... by Matt_Bramanti (Dec 2004)
Area watchdog Spence Kerrigan sent me this photo, which was taken by one of his anonymous readers. It was taken at 9:00 am on November 8 in the Texas Medical Center.
Apparently the sleeping officer's job is to patrol the MetroRail line in order to prevent accidents. I guess she just gave up.
Metro loses money on EVERY trip. Why should they worry about this one ?
As I have always said th3e Wham Bam Tram is a epically bad idea.
70, but it'll soon change.
This billion dollar boondoggle was foisted on the public through the machinations of the liberal newspaper and people with real estate investments downtown.
No word as to whether they will even run the trains through New Years Eve.
A) They should be expecting more pedestrians that night (and their plan during Superbowl and All Star Game was to shut the train down before it got into the "meat" of downtown).
B) Most people who go out for New Year's Eve generally DO stay out past 12 midnight.
C) If people park their cars up the tracks someplace, they will still often be drunk by the time they get to them (riding the rail just keeps them from driving drunk in Downtown).
D) Some drunk drivers won't ride the train so when they get in their cars to leave downtown, those trollies pose a threat/risk.
E) If people are not riding the trains "much" during the late night hours, could they at least send through a "last train" an hour after the others? In NYC, buses from the Port Authority Terminal don't leave as frequently late at night but service is not shut down altogether.
It passed with 1% of the vote but the city acts as if there was a mandate for rail and wanted to expand the system.
A picture that is worth a thousand words...
Or at least just one...
Or maybe two...
Now if only they'd applied the "cost-effectiveness" test to all the other trains, they'd probably shut the system down altogether.
Well they shut down the fancy fountain downtown. Seems someone kept stealing the lights. Last I read it had cost around $50,000 so far in replacements.