HOUSTON, Texas - Long lines and gridlock at METRO park and ride facilities have greeted Astros fans trying to make their way downtown, and some fans still stuck in line never made it to the parade route.
Minutes before the parade was set to kick off, aerial footage from NRG Park showed what appeared to be hundreds if not thousands of fans wrapped down the block and around the stadium. One viewer said she has been waiting in line at NRG for more than three hours.
A rider at the Northwest Park & Ride sent in footage showing long lines at that facility, too.
Riders at some stations closer to downtown say that most trains passing through are already full with riders from stations up the line. Some riders tried riding trains away from downtown to the end of the line and then reboarding to travel into the city.
Ahead of the parade, METRO announced that it would offer free bus and rail service into downtown. On Friday afternoon, the agency introduced service limitations in an attempt to streamline operations and also introduced additional shuttles.
"We are continually working to get as many buses out as possible and getting patrons to their destinations," METRO public information officer Laura Whitley told ABC13. "We understand this event is important to the community which is why we offered free service the entire day. We certainly apologize for any inconvenience. However, we are faced with same gridlock traffic conditions other vehicles are facing. We appreciate everyone's understanding and patience."
Whitley later pledged to get all fans home after the parade "regardless of how long it takes."
"We encourage fans to enjoy the festivities in downtown Houston after the parade and not feel rushed to return home immediately. Please exercise patience and understand, METRO will get you home," she added.
Because of the high temperatures and humidity, the Houston Office of Emergency Management and the Red Cross are handing out water to fans waiting in line at NRG Park.
CHAMPION CITY! See everything you love about the players, relive the best moments and celebrate in style with all the Astros World Series bases coverage!
Astros fans battle long lines getting into downtown