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Houston's METRO reports nine-month ridership increase

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas, (METRO) posted a 3.7 percent gain in ridership during a nine-month period ending in June, agency officials announced.

From October 2012 to June 2013, the Houston agency recorded 59.9 million boardings compared with 57.8 million boardings during a similar past nine-month period. Rail ridership rose about 2 percent to 8.6 million boardings, METRO officials said in a press release.

Officials attributed the gain to a stronger economy, additional service and more rail cars operating along the Main Street Line.

"The trends are a reflection of the changes we're making to meet our riders' needs," said Tom Lambert, METRO's interim president and chief executive officer. "We have more initiatives in the works, too, like the free Labor Day weekend rides."

Other plans expected to impact ridership include the return of the day pass and the December opening of the Red Line light-rail extension.

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More News from 8/22/2013