Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, policy - fares, policy - congestion, economics - operating costs, mode - bus


Travel time, Traffic congestion, Special events, Shuttle service, Shuttle buses, Ridership, Patronage (Transit ridership), Operating costs, Journey time, Houston (Texas), Gridlock (Traffic), Fares, Cost of operation, Cost effectiveness


This paper summarizes the development and current condition of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) shuttle bus service, known as the Rodeo METRO Express. The service was initiated in 1988 as a joint effort between the HLSR, METRO, Texas Department of Transportation, and the City of Houston. Since that time, utilization has grown to the point where over 16,000 patrons per day now consistently rely on the shuttle bus during the 17 days of rodeo each year. In 1995, the service carried over 15% of the total rodeo attendance. The highly congested traffic conditions in and around the Astrodome area during the HSLR continue to make the Rodeo METRO Express an extremely attractive travel alternative to the spectators in terms of reduced travel time and guaranteed access to the rodeo grounds. Because of these benefits, a higher fare structure that has been adopted by the HLSR officials has been accepted by the public and has resulted in a bus operating system that nearly pays for itself. Overall, the success of the Rodeo METRO Express can be attributed to many variables. These include the cooperation and coordination received from the many transportation agencies involved, the 600 volunteers that serve on the HLSR Public Transportation Committee, as well as the rodeo spectator's desire to arrive at the rodeo on time and avoid the frustration of the traffic congestion. Together, these forces have combined to create an extremely cost-effective special-event transportation operation.