According to the The National Safety Council, riding public transportation is over 170 times safer than riding in a private car. But accidents do happen and mass transit isn't immune. Read further for more about the recent collision between Houston's new Metro Rail and a city bus on February 9th, 2010.
I have always wondered why more safety measures aren't enforced in buses and trains. Even if a passenger wanted to wear a seatbelt, there are none available. A passenger can even mozy around the bus while it is hauling rubber down the freeway. There are no signs asking passengers to stay seated, etc. Hmmm...
Surprisingly, the on board cams show that the passengers on board the train faired quite well. However, 9 bus passengers, including the bus driver were taken to a hospital. None were seriously injured. The driver of the bus is cited as being at fault.
The Metro rail in Houston has had collisions with personal vehicles in the past, but this is the first time in Houston where a train has collided with one of its own.
Urban planners have sometimes criticized the initial 8 mile Houston Rail line due to its higher than average accident rate compared to other rail systems. Some say that it is due to the fact that the Metro Rail line was rushed to completion so that it would be ready in time for when Houston hosted the Super Bowl back in 2004, when many eyes would be on the city.
Special interest groups have been successful thwarting rail proposals throughout Texas, including light rail systems in Austin and San Antonio as well as a high speed passenger rail system connecting Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio.
Dallas is the only Texas city to currently offer comprehensive rail service and its popular service has far exceeded expectations, and presents a good working model to other Texas cities. Houston's 7.5 miles of rail is the only other city rail system in Texas that is in operation.
A new, much more comprehensive crosstown rail line has already been approved for Houston.