HOOP FANS ‘EMBRACED THE MADNESS’ RIDING METRO
VISITORS GREETED AND ASSISTED BY HUNDREDS OF AGENCY AMBASSADORS
The lights have dimmed at Reliant Stadium and the crowds have cleared the METRORail platforms in what was a packed road to the NCAA Final Four with record-setting attendance.
METRORail moved an estimated 148,000 basketball fans to and from the games at Reliant Stadium and to the off-the-court action at Discovery Green and the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB) during the four-day Big Dance event. On game days, the rail registered more than 93,000 boardings, representing the highest two-day Saturday and Monday total since the rail line opened in 2004.
METRORAIL NCAA GAME DAY STATS:
· April 2 ridership of 41,000 boardings is the second highest Saturday ridership in METRORail’s history, eclipsed only by the day before the 2004 Super Bowl with 55,212 boardings
· April 4 ridership of 52,000 boardings is the highest Monday ridership since the line opened, besting the 51,724 boardings on November 23, 2009, when the Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans played Monday Night Football
*Ridership numbers for the special Park & Ride service and shuttle buses operated during the event are still being calculated.
The agency balanced offense and defense for a winning game plan: Trains ran steadily every six minutes, extra buses were used to accommodate fans along the rail route, special weekend
Park & Ride service to Discovery Green/GRB area ran smoothly, hundreds of METRO volunteer ambassadors positioned along the Red Line greeted visitors and helped them navigate the experience, while METRO police and safety personnel ensured crowds moved along safe and sound.
“As one of the ambassadors along the system assisting riders, I was very proud of the METRO employees and the service we all provided,” said George Greanias, president & CEO of METRO. “I was also delighted to see the great interaction between Houstonians and out-of-town visitors. This was a great event for Houston.”
METRO tweaked its strategy to better accommodate fans by adding fare purchase points to include area hotels, the GRB and another rail station stop (Main Street Square). The agency also stepped into action to assist fans who had been waiting for alternate transportation after the semi-final game Saturday night.
For customers impacted by the onslaught of NCAA fans riding the rail Monday night, METRO ran dedicated shuttle buses within the Texas Medical Center every five minutes so regular riders could avoid the crowds and get to their parking lots in a timely manner.
METRO will once again team up with the NCAA when the road to the Final Four heads back to Houston in 2016.