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On Jan. 19, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO) began providing free rides to federal government employees who've been affected by the partial government shutdown.Free transit service is available to federal workers for the duration of the shutdown on METRORail, METRO bus, METROLift and park-and-ride systems. Federal workers must show a government employee identification card at the time of boarding to receive a free ride.At least 35,000 Texans are on the federal payroll, including several thousand in Houston and the surrounding region, METRO officials said in a press release.The 22-mile METRORail light-rail system includes the Red, Green and Purple lines, and averages 55,000 passengers daily. The 12.6-mile Red Line opened in 2004, while the 6.7-mile Purple Line and 3.2-mile Green Line opened in 2015.