New environmentally friendly bus service


The good news for downtown commuters is that the new bus service will be free. The bad news is the bus route won't be up and running until May 2012.

The Houston Downtown Management District, together with BG Group and Houston First Corporation, announced the details of the new GreenLink bus service in a news conference at 10:30am.

The new environmentally friendly buses will hit the streets in May 2012 with a 2.5-mile route that will connect major office buildings along Smith and Louisiana Streets to METRO transit, the convention corridor, hotels, shopping, restaurants and the civic center.

The loop will run along Walker to Smith, then Jefferson, up Louisiana, along Dallas and past the George R. Brown Convention Center. There will be about 20 stops along the route.

The buses will run on compressed natural gas, which produces lower emissions. The mayor says GreenLink will help Houstonians get where they're going.

"There are some things that the city has done over the years to make it easier, you know. We have standardized cab fares downtown, we've done things to make people more mobile, but the GreenLink is an absolute step in the right direction," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said.

Once it's up and running, GreenLink will operate from about 6:30am to 6:30pm. Startup costs are about $3.7 million and annual operating costs are estimated to be about $1.2 million a year. This is all paid for by the Downtown District, BG Group and Houston First Corporation. For commuters, the service will be free.

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