*HOUSTON - Texans fans will be able to ride MetroRail to games this upcoming season for the first time in history. The light rail has already been successfully used as the primary form of alternative transportation for Astros and Rockets games, as well as the Super Bowl and the MLB All Star game. More than 9,000 fans used MetroRail to get to Reliant Stadium and 61,000 people boarded the train for Super Bowl XXXVIII. Houston's newest mode of transportation is expected to reduce corridor congestion and stimulate business development during Texans games.
"This is proof of just what we expected: light rail is already playing a major role in moving people around Houston," Metro's President and CEO Shirley DeLibero said at the conclusion of the Super Bowl. "Super Bowl weekend showed us what an important role light rail can play in handling transportation needs during a major event."
One of the reasons the city of Houston built the MetroRail was for fans to get to and from Reliant Stadium. The Texans recognize the success of the light rail for the Super Bowl and want to keep it going for every Texans game.
"We have been anticipating the completion of MetroRail since we opened the stadium in 2002," Texans Senior Vice President Jamey Rootes said. "Metro Park and Ride was available as a service to assist fans until light rail was up and running. Over the past year we have worked closely with Metro and Houston officials to create our rail plan. It will take our fans a few games to get comfortable with this new game day service, but we see it as an opportunity for fans to build new game day traditions - by riding to the games together and enjoying the many entertainment options that are available along the Main Street line before and after games."
Opening the MetroRail on game days will drive people to businesses downtown and along the light rail during off-peak times; there are 285 total restaurants and clubs in downtown Houston and 55 along Main Street. It will also increase exposure to sites along the way, including: the Museum District, three Universities, the Medical Center, the Toyota Center, Minute Maid Park and the Central Business District in downtown Houston.
"We're excited to be working with the Texans on utilizing the light rail during games," Barry Mandel, the Executive Director of the Houston Downtown Alliance. "This will give Texans' fans an opportunity to visit restaurants and shops along the light rail line. They can also enjoy the entertainment of downtown after the game. We're really excited about this new opportunity for fans and for the city of Houston."
The cost to ride the light rail will be $2 round trip per person. There are over 123,000 parking spots along the light rail (85,000 downtown, 37,000 Medical Center and 1,600 Fannin South http://www.fta.dot.gov). Attached is the MetroRail map and information. There are two parking areas surrounding MetroRail that are marked on the attached map: Fannin South Park and Ride Lot (1,600) and Bell Metro Rail Stop (four adjacent parking lots). The Texans will offer accessible shuttles from light rail drop off to the stadium entrance for the disabled patrons.
Following is a link to a story in the Houston Chronicle about MetroRail's impact at the Super Bowl: http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/special/04/lightrail/2395093.