Some Pasadena Citizens Want It; Mayor Thinks Bus Service Is Waste Of Money

The future of Harris County Transit bus service in Pasadena is still not certain, even after council voted to extend service for a couple of months. Some Pasadena residents urged city leaders not to cut the service.

Harris County Transit bus service provides residents outside of the Metro service area with transportation. Pasadena is one area of service, having contributed $275,000 dollars in a 12-month period for the routes that serve Spencer Highway, Fairmont Parkway and east to San Jacinto College and LaPorte.

Earlier this month, Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell told council that he didn't want to fund the bus service any more, unless ridership increased. During a recent trip on the bus, he noted little interest in the service.

Durrel Douglas with the Texas Organizing Project, an organization that is the voice for low to moderate income families, said the bus service provides vital transportation.

"People use these buses to go to school, to go to work, to go to the hospital, to go to doctors' appointments. What are we gonna tell them if they choose to shut down the bus service?"

At Pasadena's council meeting, several people spoke in support of  keeping it.

Male comment: "Those buses have a wheelchair lift. You can ride those buses and I think it's a great service for the city of Pasadena, and you need to continue it."

Female comment: "I'm here to speak on behalf of the Bridge over Troubled Waters, which provides services to women and children of domestic violence. I had a client who was excited because she had just received information that she had obtained employment. However with sadness in here eyes, she knew that she would only be able to use the transit system for a few more weeks."

Male comment: "And that's no way to treat our citizens, and I think if you do away with the bus system, it would be just be another abject failure of this administration."

Council later voted to continue funding Harris County Transit through the end of October, even though Councilmember Don Harrison was the only one who spoke in favor of it.

"Senior citizens need it, low income need it, middle class need it, and it's gonna expand. There's 42-hundred riders every month now. This is a step in the right direction to continue, but there's still nothing in the budget to fund it past October 31st. So it's all up in the air, they've got an unofficial committee, you know. I'm not gonna get into their thinking, but I'm all for the transit. If they would just look at it, it's a great service and LaPorte is gonna continue theirs and so, Pasadena needs it."

Harrison says he hopes more support is found on council before the extension expires.

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Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...