HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- This year, the new bus lanes that soar high above the West Loop and onto Post Oak Boulevard will open, but ABC 13 got an exclusive ride-along to preview the brand new buses that will use them.
"The whole idea is to give a train-like or rail-like experience," METRO Chief Operating Officer Andy Skabowski said.
The new buses are designed to run like METRO light rail, with regular stops down the brand new bus-only lanes along the I-610 West Loop and Post Oak.
Those buses will eventually connect riders from the brand new Northwest Transit Center to the Galleria area, and unlike regular buses, these buses will stop at brand new platforms where you pay before you board.
"When you get here, you do your business, you pay your fare, (and) you are in a nice lighted platform," Skabowski explained. "The security camera here for added security, when the bus pulls up you get up and go where you need to go."
To help speed up the boarding process, the buses boast special equipment that allow you to get on the bus without taking a step up. Once inside, you'll feel like you're on a train with more standing room, seats that fold down, and five doors on both sides of the bus.
"Some of the areas are a little more open, because the journeys are a little more open than a typical bus ride," Skabowski said. "People can stand. It allows for a little more flow through inside the bus."
For riders, the buses will follow special signals and get priority in traffic.
Construction along the bus lanes is expected to be finished by the end of March, but then, there will be a testing period until buses roll in July.
Take a sneak peek inside the new METRO rapid transit buses
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