Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Bus Passes

Yesterday the complex had a presentation by the Metro (bus) System.  They were giving away free passes for the residents who are 70+.  They also offered reduced fares for residents under 70.   Since my car is still running smoothly, I didn't really need a pass but I just couldn't refuse something for free.  LOL. 

We have a bus stop just on the next corner and I have seen several of our residents catch it.  One of my neighbors who has bad knees and trouble walking takes a handicap special bus (which the Metro provides).  The bus comes by the apartments and he rides his scooter to the pickup location in our driveway.  This type of bus accommodates scooters and wheelchairs with a lift ramp. 

Houston has a large bus service coverage.  When I worked downtown I would drive to a large shopping center in my area, park my car there and then get on at the bus stop.  We were given a choice by the law firm of a free bus pass paid by the law firm or a parking stipend.  As you can imagine parking downtown was expensive and time-consuming nightmare so I opted for the bus. 

Then the Park 'N Ride was put into effect.  This was essentially a large parking lot (located off a main freeway) specially built so the busses could circle in and out.   You could park there for free and then ride a nice, comfortable bus that took you from the parking lot directly to a major downtown street where you would get off and walk to your building.  It was very nice.  They were upper-class buses and very comfortable but, of course, more expensive than the City Bus I rode before. 

The great thing about riding the bus was how much wear and tear I saved on my car.  My car lasted a really long time and had low mileage when I passed it on to the kids. 

This was long before Uber but if you were in a situation where you needed a car, like a child emergency - you would take a cab to your parking lot and go from there.  If you knew you had a doctor's appointment or another need for your car during the day, you could just drive in and pay for one day of parking. 

Then they developed a rail line on Main St. downtown.  It was a contentious fight by voters against spending the money for same but somehow City Hall won.  One interesting outcome of the rail was that it ran from downtown to the Medical Center (which is quite big if you didn't know). So it was very easy for downtown workers to jump on the rail (train) and go to doctor appointments, etc. in the Med Center - and avoid the very high parking rates there.  I still don't see the need for it but I have used it once or twice.

And finally, the Metro provides us with rides to the Rodeo.  I don't think my pass would cover this but it is well worth the little bit Metro charge.  You go to a local football stadium or shopping center and they have long lines of very nice busses which take you directly from the parking place to a special drop-off at the Rodeo.  The busses run continuously so when the show is over, you just get back in a return line.  Our Rodeo lasts about 2 weeks and has a big star playing every night and matinee.  While it is not everyone's choice, I find it a blessing and it makes those long lines into the Stadium parking lot a breeze. 

I guess that is more than you ever wanted to know about the Houston Metro System.  What I really started out to say about getting my free pass was that I was not able to attend the presentation (although I did get signed up for my Pass) because of the noise reverberating in my ears.  I explained why I left to our community director and she said she had complaints about that before.  Good to know.

I still plan to attend the domino meeting.  I will go without my hearing aids on and see if that is bearable.  If there are any interested domino players we could always relocate to one of the many tables around the complex.  Anyway, it is still an option. 

More later .....


  1. You don't have a metro system or subway to deal with IAH traffic? I must say I am surprised by that. In the early 80s when I was always in Houston the traffic was horrific.
    The rodeo? Like bucking broncos and the like? Only in Texas :-) Love it.

  2. Sounds like you've got great public transportation. One of the reasons why I want to move is because I don't have nay where I live. We do have the bus that will pick up people in wheelchairs but I've heard tales about having to be on that bus for hours as they deliver and pick up people all oer the metro area before getting to your destination, not something you do on a regular basis.

  3. It is interesting to see how big cities manage the traffic congestion etc with the parking and bus option. Such a great idea.

    You would laugh to see our little city, Barbara.

  4. I used to drive for 1/2 hour to a parking lot then take a bus for another 1/2 hour to the hospital where I worked. I hated it. Now that my department has moved off site we don't have to bus anymore! It's very nice!

  5. Sometimes I long for urban living for just that reason. I would definitely use it if I lived in a larger city. Even if I moved to my tiny town, it doesn't have any public transportation.

  6. Growing up in Florida, this is all foreign to me. I don't recall taking a bus until the time came to get on a greyhound and take it out of state.
    I did live in the Atlanta area for a few years as a teen and my brother and I took the bus downtown a few times to explore.
    I understand about your hearing sesitivity. I don't understand why so many places have the sound SO loud.

  7. Hello and Happy New Week. That is wonderful about seniors being able to get free bus passses. Hey even though you have a car you never know if your car is in for repairs it might be nice to have a bus pass. Happy Valentine's Day.

  8. Before I moved south I lived in Minnesota and had access to light rail and could enjoy the delights of the city while living in the quiet and sane country. So nice you have the same opportunities and a free ride to attend things only a city can offer. I like the name of your blog!