As the nation mourned the passing of former President George H.W. Bush last week, METRO quietly provided shuttles from Second Baptist Church to St. Martin's Episcopal Church for the public to pay their respects as his body lay in repose for 12 hours.
From 6 p.m. on Dec. 5 to 6 a.m. the next day, 12,000 mourners of all ages and ethnicities braved lines all night, first going through security screening overseen by the Secret Service and then boarding the shuttles.
For the repose, METRO transit buses were used with destination signs reading, "George H.W. Bush." Shuttle service operated continuously with each bus transporting standing loads, one after another. To maintain security enroute, a Harris County sheriff was on board every bus, while METRO police provided escort to St. Martin's. Local and METROLift buses were used.
Shuttle service for the funeral Thursday morning transitioned to commuter buses. The destination message on these buses expanded to include a motto the president lived by: "Visibility Unlimited."
The funeral service was by invitation only. From 7:15 until 9 a.m., guests were screened and then escorted to the buses. In addition to family friends, celebrity guests included Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris, along with sport greats J. J. Watt, Jeff Bagwell, Tommy LaSorta, Yao Ming and many others. After the service, METRO transported guests back to Second Baptist Church.
Bus operators wore unusual, colorful socks as a tribute to Bush, whose trademark accessory was whimsical, multi-hued socks.
METRO's special shuttle service was led by the Operations and MPD departments, working in partnership with the Bush Foundation, the Secret Service and the Houston Police Department.
Tom Lambert, METRO president & CEO, commended the staff in an email, saying hundreds of employees from several departments were involved in the logistics.
"Your support of these memorials by providing bus shuttles to the visitation throughout the night and to the funeral the next morning gave us an opportunity to honor a Houstonian who was also one of our nation's great leaders," wrote Lambert.
METRO is honored to have been a part of the final goodbye to President George Herbert Walker Bush.
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