Houston METRO Pilot Program Losing Millions of Bucks – Texas News

Houston METRO Pilot Program Losing Millions of Bucks – Texas News

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 11:06 a.m.

The two-year-old METRO Houston Community Connectors service is costing the transportation agency and taxpayers millions.

According to METRO Houston figures, Harris County taxpayers will cough up an annual $1.3 million subsidy so that around 55 people per weekday can ride what’s essentially a limited neighborhood shuttle.

When METRO implemented its debatable new “System Reimagining” bus network in August 2015, critics say that METRO attempted to scrap key routes on the poorer northeast, east and southeast sides in favor of a pilot program called Community Connectors. The “bus,” which looks more like a squat airport shuttle, allows anyone to reserve a “curb-to-destination” ride to any destination within a specified zone – for instance, from someone’s front door to the store – for $1.25 each way.

“METRO wanted five zones to use for Community Connectors, all located in minority neighborhoods,” says Houston METRO watchdog Paul Magaziner. “It was one of the few things we stopped on the new bus network. All of them got scrapped, except for Acres Homes.”

Two years later, the Acres Homes Community Connectors Route 344 doesn’t seem to be doing so hot.

Taxpayers To Spend $1.3 Million on a Failing METRO Houston Pilot Program (2)

Houston METRO finanical statement

METRO’s route ranking model shows that there will be an average of 109 daily boardings during the weekdays in fiscal year 2017, which started October 1, 2016. The annual cost for taxpayers: $1,297,970 (or $46.83 per boarding).

The Monday-through-Friday version of Route 344 will bring in just $16,278 in annualized…

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