B-Metro will be rolling out its first Sunday service pilot on July 25 reaching major points of interest such as Walmart, H-E-B, Sunrise Mall and the 77 Flea Market.
The pilot program will last six to 12 months and will be revised by the Brownsville City Commission in six months. The project consists of seven total routes that will service the community from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“I want you to know that this is a pilot. This simply allows us to make adjustments and improvements to the routes. Expand or reduce our service hours and make any adjustments to our staffing needs as we identify the trends of our ridership throughout the time period of our pilot,” Jenny Garcia, assistant director for the Brownsville Metro Division of Multimodal Transportation, said during a city commission meeting on Tuesday.
To start offering the service, B-Metro did a public feedback survey where they asked the public and passengers what route they would use the most on Sunday, what places they would like to travel to on Sunday and at what time they would start using the transportation services.
Officials said that according to the responses from the survey, there were top seven routes that were identified.
The Sunday service will offer Route 1 Westend, Route 2 Jefferson and Central, Route 4 Los Ebanos, Route 5 Paredes and Alton Gloor, Route 8 Hortencia, Route 9 Austin and Route 11 Old Port Isabel.
According to the presentation, the estimated cost annually for the Sunday service will cost $430,342.30. This total includes the $258,011.98 for the operating cost, $132,441.45 for the total first vehicle service cost and $39,888.87 for fuel.
In a memo from Mobility Director Joel Garza to Brownsville City Manager Noel Bernal, the mayor and city commission, Garza states that in 2017 Nelson Nygard completed a comprehensive study for The Brownsville Metro Division of Multimodal Transportation (B-Metro). The study was completed in May 2017 and provided a comprehensive study of B-Metro’s operations and community feedback resulting in short and long-term recommendations for service improvements.
“Since the release of this study, B-Metro staff has been working on implementing the recommendations provided within the study,” Garza wrote. “To date staff has implemented the completion of updating and geocoding B-Metro’s bus stop locations, the Ride System App and the interlining and realignment of the fixed routes. Adding Sunday service is another recommendation from the study that staff has been working on. B-Metro staff has completed the identification of the level of service to be provided, alignment of routes, route schedules and preliminary costs required to provide a Sunday service pilot.”
Brownsville City Commissioner Rose Gowen said it would be a good idea to add the Sports Park to the routes so that residents can attend games and recreational activities.
“But also since there is a lot of housing that is going in there eventually. So, I’m glad you’ll look at it again next year,” she said.
Mayor Trey Mendez said this is great news because it is a much-needed service that was recommended by the survey as one of the top three things that the community of Brownsville wanted.
“I really appreciate you taking the community feedback on which routes, and times, and everything. That’s the way we should do it,” he said. “I’m excited to get this going.”