If you've ever wanted the opportunity to influence Metro's next projects, now is your chance.
Metro plans to announce its new public involvement program, MetroNext, Tuesday. Through Metro's website and a series of meetings, the public will be able to give input on what projects the transit agency should take on next. The ideas will contribute to Metro's Regional Transit Plan, designed to serve transit users until 2040, which builds on the progress already made thanks to the long-range transit plan that was approved by voters in 2003.
Metro CEO Tom Lambert called the program an "actively engaged listening tour," that will look for suggestions from both transit and non-transit services as well as community stakeholders.
"Our transit system must help people get to where they need to go today, as well as in the future," Metro's website says. "Through this process, we will look for ways to better serve the needs of our current customers, as well as develop strategies to attract new customers to the transit system."
Kickoff for the program is scheduled for June 27, with two dozen open houses planned throughout July and August.
MetroNext follows up an ambitious 2003 referendum that opened up access to $640 million, which Metro used to build out the three-line light rail system. A redesign of the bus system in 2015 increased ridership by 6.8 percent within its first year.
When Carrin Patman came on as the new Metro board chair in 2016, she expressed interest in a substantial regional plan that could even include things like a light rail connection to Hobby airport. But she also emphasized the need for smaller improvements, like fixes to sidewalks and bus shelters that would make public transit more accessible and comfortable.