Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 09/28/2016  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon a reverse commute program for The Woodlands Express;
FISCAL IMPACT:
It is anticipated that there would be no additional cost to the Township to implement a reverse commute program. 
BACKGROUND:
The Woodlands Township operates a commuter bus service -- The Woodlands Express -- which operates from three community locations providing round trip transportation from The Woodlands to three Houston employment centers Monday through Friday. Approximately 2,700 riders per day use this service. Round trip tickets currently cost $13.00.

Current operations begin at the three Park and Ride locations on weekday mornings and deliver passengers to destinations in downtown Houston, the Texas Medical Center, and Greenway Plaza. In the afternoon through early evening, passengers are picked up from these locations and delivered back to the Park and Ride terminals in The Woodlands.
 
In an effort to increase ridership and revenues, Township staff and consultants analyzed a potential reverse commute service detailed in Attachment A. This service would consist of passenger trips originating in downtown Houston and arriving in The Woodlands weekday mornings and would return passengers to downtown Houston in the afternoon and early evening; the reverse of current operations.

The primary goal of the analysis was to develop reverse commute opportunities at no additional cost to the Township by using existing pick-up and drop-off locations in downtown to minimize confusion and maintain the current schedule and turn times. Using existing stop locations provides multiple opportunities for passengers to board within convenient walking distance of METRO’s three downtown light rail lines.

Operating Characteristics 
  • Route: Houston to The Woodlands via Existing Stops (Milam St. in the AM / Louisiana St. in the PM)
    • Origin: Downtown Houston
      • Downtown Stops: Existing stops
    • Destinations: Park & Ride Facilities
      • The Woodlands Stops: Research Forest / Sawdust
    • Number of Runs: Nine (9) in the AM / Twelve (12) in the PM
    • Extra Buses Required?: No
    • Estimated Operating Costs: $0 per year (above current operations
    • Proposed Schedules: *See attachment for proposed schedules.
This operating scenario presents the fewest challenges to implementation. It would operate with existing vehicles and stops, and would add no additional operations costs. However, it could face first-mile/last-mile challenges. This could be potentially overcome by coordinating with local employers and commercial ride-sharing services. 

IMPLEMENTATION

Local Coordination / Marketing: Next steps include meeting and coordinating with The Woodlands Development Company, the Economic Development Partnership, the Chamber of Commerce, and The Woodlands CV&B to identify opportunities to increase potential for success.
RECOMMENDATION:
Implement the reverse commute operations as outlined.
Attachments
Reverse Commute Memo


    

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