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United States: Trends in local bus ridership in Houston, Texas [free access]

November 1, 2021

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) operates the bus services in Houston, covering the major city streets. Currently, METRO operates a fleet of 1,236 buses around Houston.

 

During January 2020–March 2020, the ridership declined steeply due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during April 2020–September 2021, the ridership was fairly stable.

 

Post-Covid-19, the ridership trends are stable and have not risen to offset the decline resulting from the pandemic. This is mainly due to safety concerns over COVID-19 precautions. These safety concerns coupled with lower gas prices in recent years have made the use of personal vehicles more economical.

 

The following table provides details of the local bus ridership during January 2020–September 2021.

 

Table: Monthly local bus ridership in Houston, Texas

 Month

Ridership (passengers)

January 2020

5,047,218

February 2020

4,801,715

March 2020

3,895,191

April 2020

2,502,694

May 2020

2,707,289

June 2020

3,022,063

July 2020

2,896,084

August 2020

2,683,373

September 2020

2,638,637

October 2020

2,944,476

November 2020

2,690,578

December 2020

2,680,291

January 2021

2,642,447

February 2021

2,061,536

March 2021

2,872,497

April 2021

2,776,706

May 2021

2,753,742

June 2021

2,809,558

July 2021

2,857,111

August 2021

3,043,954

September 2021

2,962,720

Source: Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO)

 

The following figure presents details of the monthly ridership on local buses during January 2019–September 2021.

 

 Figure: Monthly local bus ridership in Houston, Texas (million passengers)