Here's the angle, in a nutshell:
- Harris County Metro is completely changing its bus network in just a few days, a huge change that Metro acknowledges is years overdue.
- Some routes will change only slightly, others significantly, and still others will be discontinued in order to accommodate more frequent service on the most popular routes.
- One of the major changes is that the continuous loop shown above, 26 Outer Loop/27 Inner Loop, will become extinct; passengers will need to take four different buses to cover the same route—not that anybody ever rides the thing all the way around, other than transit wonks like me.
I wanted to honor the passing of this route with a two-hour-plus bus odyssey. Rather than submitting my typically wordy paragraphs, I took a cue from Jimmy Joyce and his character Leopold Bloom, writing in elliptical "think-speak."
The clever crew at the Houston Chronicle's Gray Matters blog sliced and diced my stream-of-thought prose into an interactive graphical tour of Inner Loop Houston.
Since I submitted the text, Metro voted to budget an additional $10 million to hire more drivers and mechanics. In this way, where Metro had trouble deciding whether to offer more frequent service on certain routes, it could "err" on the side of more rather than less. Thus we now have service on Montrose Blvd. every 15 minutes, in both directions, all day, every day (every 30 minutes at after 8 pm). I have also learned that Heights Transit Center (corner of North Main, Studewood, East 20th, and West Cavalcade) will be out of commission under the new system, at least temporarily.
Thanks to Gray Matters curator Lisa Gray for believing in this project and taking my words to new multimedia dimensions.
To see more of Gray Matters on houstonchronicle.com, you'll need to purchase a digital subscription. I think it's worth every penny.