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.
This first weekend in December brings holiday events in full swing. Taste and see a traditional Czech Christmas at a holiday market in the Museum District. Then, take a break from seasonal fun, and explore some of the best contemporary crafts in the state.
In the evening, watch a world premiere from an emerging new playwright who takes us back to adolescent life in the suburbs in the 1990s. And if you're on a tight budget because of all the gift-giving, we have one free event and one pay-what-you-can event.
Whatever you do for fun, make METRO part of your plans. We'll take you where you want to go, while you sit back, relax and text to your heart's content. Use our Google-powered Trip Planner to get the specific route from your starting point.
Event: Czech Christmas Market with St. Nicholas. Experience a Central European Christmas at the Czech Center Museum Houston with food trucks, Christmas activity booths, Christmas music and a special visit from St. Nicholas. Discover Czech Christmas traditions – from blown-glass ornaments to Czech vanilla crescent cookies – a sweet, nutty treat. The kids can get their photo taken with St. Nicholas – and this one does not look like the mall Santa. Select unusual gifts from the museum's Prague international gift shop.
When: Saturday, 2 to 6 p.m. Free for kids under age 13; $5 for kids 13+ and adults.
Where: Czech Center Museum Houston, 4920 San Jacinto St.
METRORail: Red Line – exit Wheeler Station
Bus: 5 Southmore - exit Fannin & Rosedale; 65 Bissonnet – exit Main & Arbor; 25 Richmond – exit Wheeler Station; 152 Harwin Express, 153 Harwin Express – exit Wheeler Station.
Event: CraftTexas 2018. This tenth in a series of biennial juried exhibitions highlights the best in Texas-made contemporary craft. The show features 50 works by 36 artists and includes sculpture, jewelry, and furniture – all with a focus on cutting-edge works.
When: Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. (through Jan. 6)
Where: Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main St.
METRORail: Red Line – exit Wheeler Station.
Bus: 65 Bissonnet – exit Main and Arbor; 5 Southmore – exit Fannin & Rosedale; 25 Richmond – exit Wheeler Station; 153 Harwin Express – exit Wheeler Station; 56 Airline/Montrose – exit Montrose.
Event: "First Suburb." This play follows five adolescents' lives in a planned community in the 1990s when their quiet suburb is violently interrupted. It's a subversive, mischievous and somewhat familiar look back at childhood by Chana Porter, an emerging playwright, education activist, writer-in-residence and McDowell Fellow.
When: Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2:30 p.m. Pay-what-you-can, although $40 is suggested price.
Where: MATCH - Catastrophic Theatre, 3400 Main St.
METRORail: Red Line – exit Ensemble/HCC Station.
Bus: 9 Gulfton/Holman – exit Holman & Main; 82 Westheimer – exit Milam & Elgin.
*Suggested routes by our Customer Care Center; individual routes may vary by need.
This is a guest post by Ramonica Jones.
METRO police officers regularly patrol bus stops and rail lines to keep riders safe, but MPD also depends on our customers to say something if they see something.
Contacting METRO police is easy and anonymous via the MPD Connect app. Not only is reaching out to METRO police via the app discreet, it is also the fastest way to report suspicious or illegal activity to MPD.
Understandably, riders may feel uneasy about pulling out their cell phone to call police, especially while a crime is in progress; MPD Connect lets customers submit a report directly to METRO police, and even chat live - all from the palm of their hand.
While social media is quick and convenient, it's not the most efficient way to report criminal behavior. The MPD Connect app is fast – and free; all you need is a smartphone. MPD Connect is available 24/7.
So, if you're ever on board a bus or train, at a bus stop or rail platform, remember that METRO police are not far away, thanks to the MPD Connect app.
Just say something if you see something. Thank you for helping us keep our system safe.
Watch this short clip: How to Report to MPD.
Now that we've paused to count our blessings on Thanksgiving, let's enjoy the beauty and festivities of the holiday season. We've got events for the whole family at the zoo, where you won't see four-legged creatures, but instead, be mesmerized with thousands of lights.
Then save some money for those wish lists, and explore this free event: an art installation that examines the way people diagram their lives. This commissioned project includes paintings, lightboxes and virtual reality. And for a cozy indoor activity, enjoy a play with a twist and some attitude on an old favorite about Scrooge. Wherever you go to have fun, take METRO. You can party hard and then relax on our busesor trains. You'll also avoid the hassle of finding and paying for parking. Useour Google-powered Trip Planner to get your specific route from your startingpoint. Then let the holiday fun begin!
Event: Zoo Lights. Twinkling lights, hot chocolate, family and friends - what more could you ask for to get into the holiday mood? This year, the zoo opens earlier at 5 p.m. so you have more time to enjoy 15 miles of a winter wonderland of LED, earth-friendlylights, wrapping sturdy oak trees and a pathway to fun.
When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 5 to 11 p.m. Last entry at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Houston Zoo, 6200 Hermann Park Dr.
METRORail: Red Line - exit Memorial Hermann Hospital/Houston Zoo Station
Bus: 56 Airline/Montrose - exit Main and Cambridge
Event: Matthew Ritchie's installation. Check out this New York artist's multifaceted installation. This commissioned work includes paintings, lightboxes and audio work. Audiences are invited to collaborate in a 3-D sculptural environment and in an immersive virtual reality work. Free.
When: Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Moody Center for the Arts on Rice University campus, 6100 Main St.
METRORail: Red Line - exit Hermann Park/Rice U Zoo Station
Bus: 56 Airline/Montrose - exit Main and Sunset
Event: Christmas is Comin' Uptown. Enjoy the classic "A Christmas Carol" with a twist. A Harlem slumlord is planning toforeclose on a church and a tenement house when an unexpected visit by an old friend - along with some groovy ghosts - makes him reconsider.
When: Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.
Where: Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main St.
METRORail: Red Line, exit Ensemble/HCC Station
Bus: 9 Gulfton/Holman - exit Holman and Travis
*Suggested routes by our Customer Care Center; individual needs may vary.
An Australian developer focuses on Midtown as the ideal place to snap up four acres and build the neighborhood's first high-rise tower.
Caydon USA says Midtown is perfect for its high-rise building, slated to open next summer. It's bordered by METRORail, nestled between two major employment centers, and within walking distance to bars, restaurants, a theater and a park.
Host and producer Laura Whitley interviews Derrek LeRouax, chief operations officer of Caydon USA and Bill Baldwin, owner/broker of Boulevard Realty and the chair of the city of Houston's Walkable Places Committee.
Both say public transportation is the key to creating the lifestyle many people want these days, as they prefer to ditch their vehicles and walk or use alternative means like public transportation to get to where they want to go.
Click here to listen to the podcast now.
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