Agency could bring back day passes to help.
Sixteen of the nation's public transportation systems reported record ridership in 2012 as overall rides hit 10.5 billion in spite of Hurricane Sandy.
However, METRO's interim president Tom Lambert admits that wasn't the case here in Houston.
“We're seeing some increases in recent months, but the reality is since 2008 we have lost ridership here locally,” Lambert tells KTRH News. “Part of what we're doing is trying to understand why we lost ridership.”
The agency is considering new changes to make up the difference.
“Clearly the economy has had some impact, the mix of the types of buses that we use, from a larger bus to a smaller bus,” Lambert adds. “We used to have a day pass, we went away from a day pass in 2009.”
Longtime METRO critic Tom Bazan blames the light rail for the loss of riders.
“It forced people to get off the bus and ride the light rail,” says Bazan. “And then get on another bus just to complete one leg of their trip.”
METRO is moving forward with light rail expansion projects, something Bazan calls a complete waste of money.
“They would be better off, instead of building these urban rail systems, to go lease a BMW for each one of the 'vulnerables,' they'd be better off and it would cost us less,” he says.
Bazan argues nobody is checking tickets on the light rail anyway, so there's no accountability or concrete evidence the train is making any money.