METRO says "safety" prevents HOV-lane openings; Judge Emmett criticizes

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A reader who resides in Clear Lake emailed us yesterday complaining that METRO continues to run its park-and-ride buses on the main lanes instead of the HOV lanes, turning her commute into a two hour ordeal.

A quick check of METRO’s expensive blog turns up this bit of reasoning as to why the HOV lanes are not open:

Our Park & Ride service has been running on its normal schedule since yesterday.

However, all buses are operating in the main lanes. Several of you have e-mailed us, asking why aren’t METRO buses using the HOV lanes?

METRO Police Chief Tom Lambert says it’s for safety reasons.

“There’s no power to operate the vertical gates and the electronic safety signage. Also, some static safety signs are missing. These signs are being made at this time,” said Lambert. “We are also working closely with Centerpoint Energy to restore power to HOV gates. We will not open or operate HOVs until power is restored and all safety critical issues are addressed.

In other words, METRO has no sort of disaster plan for the HOV lanes, and no plan to operate them manually in the event of an extended power-loss event. Because of “safety.” No solutions to real problems — That’s the customer-oriented attitude we have come to expect from METRO!

Mayor White, who seems to fancy himself an urban General Patton (really!), might consider directing a profanity or two towards METRO regarding their poor planning at some point. Or perhaps Judge Emmett could be dispatched simply to fix things; he seems actually to get results.

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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX