Get Around Downtown Houston Free!
by: Gail Delaughter, October 10, 2011 2:10:56 pm
The new Greenlink line is a public-private partnership between Houston's Downtown District, the Houston First Corporation, and the natural gas company BG Group. Seven natural gas-powered buses will operate weekdays along a two and a half mile route.
Bob Eury with the Houston Downtown Management District says the buses will make about 20 stops. Those stops include popular destinations like Discovery Green, City Hall, and the Central Library.
"It will benefit those who work in downtown, those who live in downtown, those who are regional people who live here in Houston but visit downtown. And very importantly it will also serve visitors and conventioneers to our city."
The startup cost for the Greenlink line is 3.6 million dollars. It will cost a little over a million dollars a year to operate.
Most of the funding comes from federal transportation grants with participating groups chipping in the rest.
Mayor Annise Parker says along with helping people get around downtown quicker, the natural gas buses are also part of the city's commitment to clean energy.
"Being more sustainable, being more environmentally conscious, is also often, in fact most often, good for the bottom line."
Houston used to have free trolley buses downtown but those stopped operating about six years ago. The new 28-seat buses will arrive in Houston next April. The line will go into operation in May.