Downtown Houston is starting to fill with tourists and Houstonians experiencing Super Bowl LIVE and the NFL Experience.
Super Bowl XXXVIII, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the 2016 NCAA Final Four have all tested the limits of the METRO Rail, but the next nine days could set ridership records.
In 2004, Super Bowl rail ridership was 65,000 boardings for Super Bowl Sunday. That average high stood for many years. Now, it’s METRO’s 30th highest single-day average. Super Bowl LI could surpass all previous records.
“Oh, it’s going to be crazy,” said Houston resident Liz Robards. “I will either walk or use the public (transit) system.”
METRO is expecting the light rail to be boarded a half-million times by the end of Super Bowl LI. Today’s rail system is triple the size of when Houston hosted Super Bowl XXXVIII.
METRO spokesman Jerome Gray says the rules to ride aren’t changing.
“It will be significantly different than from what you see today,” Gray said. “What you see will be nothing like what you see next weekend.”
Next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are free to ride. Following those days, rides will go back to $1.25.
In total, 76 rail cars are active. Riders can expect a rail every six minutes along the route, although METRO says they can increase frequency if needed.