Houston, TX (April 26, 2012) – Free and convenient downtown transportation is another step closer with the announcement that the Downtown District’s Greenlink service will be operated under an inter-local agreement with METRO.
“We wanted to contract with an experienced transit operator for the operation and maintenance of the vehicles,” said Bob Eury, executive director of Downtown District. “METRO gives us great confidence in fulfilling this need and I look forward to the downtown community utilizing this new and very convenient, economic transportation option.”
The inter-local agreement between the Downtown District and METRO is for 4 years, at which point there will be an option to renew for multiple 2 year periods. The buses will be stored, maintained and serviced at METRO’s Kashmere Bus Operating Facility located at Loop 610 North and US 59 and will be fueled at either of two Clean Energy fueling stations at 227 McCarty Street or 7721A Washington Avenue.
“METRO is excited to be part of the new downtown transportation service, with our accomplished operators running the new Greenlink buses,” said George Greanias, president & CEO of METRO. “Combining the current transportation services offered by METRO with Greenlink, residents, workers and visitors can navigate the city with ease.”
Seven buses will operate Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., approximately 7-10 minutes apart. The route spans 2.5 miles with 18 stops and will connect major office buildings along Smith and Louisiana streets to METRO transit stops, the convention corridor, hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment.
Greenlink buses will stop at popular downtown destinations including Macy’s, Houston Pavilions, George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green, Main Street Square, City Hall and the Central Library and will connect to critical METRO Park & Ride services and to the Main Street METRORail line. Buses are scheduled to hit the streets in early June.
The buses run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), making them a cleaner transportation alternative. Features of the buses include a streamlined, modern design, low-floor access, perimeter seating, high-quality air conditioning, 28-seat capacity, a front-mounted bike rack and are ADA compliant. The buses are being manufactured by Gillig LLC in the USA.
The Greenlink buses are made possible through the support of Senator John Cornyn, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and a partnership with the Houston Downtown Management District (Downtown District) and sponsors BG Group and Houston First Corporation.
About Downtown District
The Houston Downtown Management District was formed in 1995 for the purpose of revitalizing the urban core of the country’s fourth largest city. Over the past decade, the Downtown District has used a combination of public funds and private resources to catalyze area improvements focusing on the city blocks bordered by Interstate 10, Highway 59, and Interstate 45. Since the Downtown District began operating in 1996, Downtown Houston has seen $4 billion of construction completed in over 110 public and private projects, the creation of 3.2 million square feet of new Class A office space, $500 million of infrastructure improvements, 3,000 new hotel rooms spanning 11 different projects, and a 250% increase in the population of permanent residents. For more information on getting around downtown, visitwww.downtownhouston.org.
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, METRO is currently expanding its 7.5-mile light-rail line (Red Line), withthree new lines under construction. METRO’s services also include: Star Vanpool, METROLift, HOV lanes, HOT lanes, Bikes-on-Buses/Trains program, Park & Ride and road improvement projects.
About BG Group
BG Group is a world leader in natural gas, with a strategy focused on connecting competitively priced resources to specific, high-value markets. Active in more than 25 countries on five continents, BG Group has a broad portfolio of exploration and production, LNG and transmission and distribution business interests. It combines a deep understanding of gas markets with a proven track record in finding and commercializing reserves.
About Houston First Corporation:
Houston First is a local government corporation that generates the city’s economic growth through the business of conventions and the arts. Houston First is responsible for management and operation of more than 10 city-owned buildings and plazas, and underground and surface parking for nearly 7,000 vehicles. Facilities include Wortham Theater Center, George R. Brown Convention Center, Jones Hall, Miller Outdoor Theatre and the Hilton Americas-Houston. For more information, visit www.houstonfirst.com.
Contact Kate at Elmore PR.