Metro Transit Authority of Harris County sent this bulletin at 03/20/2020 04:25 PM CDT

Release Date: March 20, 2020
Media Hot Line: 713.739.4040

Starting Monday METRO Bus Riders to Board & Exit Through Rear Doors During COVID-19 Response

Also Beginning Next Week Fare Collection Temporarily Suspended


METRO is making several significant service modifications to allow for continued safe operations of critical public transportation services amid the coronavirus COVID-19 response.

Local Bus

  • Starting Monday, March 23, to support social distancing, passengers must use the rear door when boarding and exiting a local bus.
  • Only passengers with mobility issues will be able to request the use of the front door of the bus to access the ramp.
  • Beginning, Monday, March 23, local bus routes will be operating on a schedule similar to Saturday service from Monday through Friday.

Park & Ride Bus

  • Park & Ride routes to the Texas Medical Center will continue to operate normally.
    • 292 West Bellfort/ Westwood/ TMC
    • 297 South Point/ Monroe/ TMC
    • 298 Kingsland/ Addicks/ NWTC/ TMC
  • Service will be reduced on all other Park & Ride routes following a sharp ridership decline.
  • A shuttle has been added to serve stops in the TMC and reduce passenger loads on METRORail.


  • METRORail will operate on normal schedules.

Fares and other Service Notes

  • Beginning Monday, March 23, METRO is temporarily suspending collection of fares on the local bus, light rail, Park & Ride and METROLift.
  • The Authority is implementing this change to assist those facing sudden economic hardship and provide ease of use for medical workers.
  • Starting, Monday, March 23, all RideStore locations will be closed.

Passengers are reminded to only take essential trips to support essential services and follow the advice of public health officials. Customers should check service alerts for updated schedule information.


METRORail passengers practice social distancing as seats are marked unavailable.

METRORail passengers practice social distancing as seats are marked unavailable.

Additional adjustments have reduced customer seating by 50 percent and allow passengers to spread out while onboard.

The following changes have been implemented to encourage social distancing:

  • Seats on buses and METRORail have been tagged as unavailable.
  • Additional buses have been added to popular routes at peak commute times to reduce crowding on vehicles.
  • Signs and notifications have been posted at transit centers, Park & Ride lots and rail stations to encourage passengers to practice responsible social distancing.
  • When buses reach 50 percent seating, digital signs will advise customers to wait for the next bus.


Digital sign displays hygiene message.

Digital sign displays a hygiene message.




METRORail customers should spread out across each rail car and avoid crowding on trains.

Those utilizing Park & Ride buses and METROLift should also expect reduced seating to limit close contact among riders.

METRO is continuing with the practice of putting an even greater emphasis on disinfecting surfaces frequently touched by the public during our daily bus and rail cleaning (Click here for video of cleaning of METRORail platform). As well as, displaying posters, digital signage and service alerts that remind riders of public health officials’ recommendations to stop the spread of germs.




Click image to watch behind the scenes production of METRO safety notices.

Click image to watch behind the scenes production of METRO safety notices.

The additional safety measures may result in delays on certain routes and riders should plan accordingly, including adjusting travel schedules. Also, METRO’s TRIP app and Next Bus Arrival Texting may not be accurate. Customers should stay informed by subscribing to real-time, route information through METRO’s service alert system and monitoring the agency’s social media accounts, Twitter, Facebook. Customer service can be reached at 713-635-4000.


The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is the region’s largest public transit provider, offering safe, reliable and affordable transportation services about 370,000 times per day. Besides operating more than 1,200 buses on METRO’s network, METRORail’s system includes the Red Line (Main Street and Northline), Green Line (East End) and Purple Line (Southeast). METRO’s services also include STAR Vanpool, METROLift, HOV/HOT lanes, Bike & Ride program, Park & Ride, and road improvement projects. Learn more about METRO services at where you will also find useful tools like the RideMETRO app where you can plan your trip and even pay your fare from your phone.


To see the original release, click here.