METRO offering free rides to cooling stations

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The city has opened 49 cooling centers where people can spend the day, and even METRO is offering a free ride to get there. (KTRK)

The oppressive heat can be nearly unbearable for Houston residents who don't have air conditioning. That's why METRO is giving free rides to cooling stations, but it was a long and winding road when we put the service to the test.

For residents on an eighth floor high rise on the northeast side, the heat is suffocating.

Marie Broussard says, "I'm burning up in here. I keep my fan every time I move. I'm not the only one."

Down the hall, her neighbor has a fan and ice, but it isn't enough either.

"Even on that I sweat. I have water running down my head and neck. Four to eight is really hot. I smell heat," says Aula Harrison.

The city has opened 49 cooling centers where people can spend the day, and METRO is offering a free ride to get there. We put the city's 3-1-1 call system to the test. The METRO website explains how free rides are offered.

Around 1pm, we called for a ride to the nearest cooling center from a gas station on Jensen. As the afternoon heat set in, our crew waited and waited. Two and a half hours later the crew received a call for pick-up.

The city says our crew was one of just two calls in the afternoon. But METRO says they had no record of the address from the city. A dispatcher called for pick-up confirmation after we inquired about the length of the wait.

We've gone back to the city and asked where our request may have gone. The city says they are the "middle man" in the system, but METRO says they can only respond once they receive the address of the request.

If you need transportation to a cooling station or know of someone who does, call 3-1-1 or (713) 837-0311.
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