METRO offers Q Card users discount program

HOUSTON If you don't already know, the METRO Q Fare Card is a program where riders can pre-load their cards to pay for their fare on the bus or the rail. It's a convenient way to ride METRO but what so many people don't know is that the METRO Q Fare Card is also a savings card!

Free dessert, discounts at restaurants, even buy one, get one free deals -- all just for showing the METRO Q Fare Card to participating businesses along METRO's rail line. The program is called METRO Q Star and it's free, but we found many Q Card holders didn't even know about it.

"I think it's pretty good, actually. I didn't even know that," one user said.

The Q Star program launched earlier this year, and as the program starts building speed, METRO President and CEO George Greanias says more people and businesses will start taking advantage of the Q Star program.

"In a tough economic time, it's in people's interest to save money; it's the interest of merchants, restaurateurs to give them opportunities to save money, so it all works together," Greanias said.

So here is how the program works: simply pick up a free METRO Q Fare Card. Then show your Q Card to participating retailers. Many of the discounts and freebies are offered by restaurants.

For example, at Byrd's Market and Café, you'll get a free dessert when you show your METRO Q Card. Over at Murphy's Deli, it's a 15 percent discount off any combo meal.

For METRO rail riders, it's a great way to save.

"I use the rail a lot every day, Monday through Friday," a rider said.

But the discounts are not limited to just restaurants. They include shops and attractions like the Houston Zoo. When you show your Q Card there, it is $2 off the price of an adult ticket and a dollar off a child ticket.

If you are looking for a night on the town, check out the Ensemble Theater at 3535 Main Street.

"The Ensemble Theater is Houston's premiere African American performing arts theater," Ensemble Theater's Robert Ross said. "I like to refer to us as the little treasure in Midtown."

If you stop by the theater to buy tickets and show your Q Card -- even in advance -- it's buy one ticket, get one free to any show.

For businesses like the Ensemble Theater, it's a great way to provide a budget-friendly evening out.

"I look at this as a perfect opportunity for us to keep our patrons engaged," Ross said.

There are dozens of businesses that are participating in the METRO Q Star program.

You can pick up a METRO Q Fare Card at any Fiesta Super Market or METRO's downtown office.

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