Changing METRO bus route upsets residents of senior living facility

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Residents of a senior living facility near Memorial Park are upset over a proposed change to METRO's bus routes.

The people we spoke with at the building on Memorial Drive can walk right out their door to catch bus route 50 to the Heights. They can also go around the corner to catch the bus downtown to the light rail and then on to the Medical Center.

Starting in August, Paula Sitter and her neighbors at this senior living community who depend on METRO bus route 50 to get to doctor's appointments and the store say they have to take a new route.

"(A METRO representative) said the closest I'd be able to go to is at Silver and Washington," Sitter says.
"That means that we have to walk up to Washington, which is going to be difficult," adds Dennis Brosh. "Or it means we're going to start using METRO lift which is more costly to METRO than using the existing bus system."

We drove to that new stop they say they've been directed to. It's nearly a half mile away from their building.

There are at least four senior living communities just like this one along the 50 that could be affected by a change.

"You wonder about the person or people that decided on what this route was going to be. Have they ridden it? Have they not seen us? We're old," wonders Larry Jones.

"The 50 takes care of all of our needs because many of us can't be out in the sun. And METRO has not planned this very well," Sitter tells us.

Quite the contrary, says METRO CEO Tom Lambert.

"We do have a map that we put out to the community. And this is something we've been working on for about two years now. The board actually approved the map back in February."

Lambert says in the new METRO Bus network, the overwhelming majority of riders will board in the same spot, and most of the routes will keep the same name or numbering system. He says he wants to hear from folks like Paula Sitter directly.

"This Board has been very responsive to getting input from the public," he says. "The more information we get, the more we can look at alternatives if we can move to serve their needs."

METRO will host two public meetings this week to get your input on the new network. The first is Wednesday at 6:00, and the second is Friday at noon. Both will be in METRO's second floor boardroom.
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