Houston METRO plans to construct solar-powered bus stops with fans and lights

Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO) is testing a prototype for new bus shelters complete with solar-powered fans and lights.

"The solar fan is the first of its kind," said Miguel Zavala, METRO Director of Public Facilities. "Three fans at the top, and we’re going to have lights. [Also], we’re going to have panels on all sides to improve circulation and visibility for safety."

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METRO plans to start with 50 of the solar-powered fan bus shelters across the Houston area. However, eventually they’d like more.

"We hope to get to a point where we perfect the design," said Tracy Jackson, Deputy Chief Communications Officer for METRO.

Representative Lizzie Fletcher first brought the idea for solar-powered fans to METRO a few years ago. According to Jackson, the costs associated with the project isn’t yet known.

"It’s hard to ballpark [the costs], because we don’t have the final design," said Jackson. "Nobody is doing this."

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METRO riders FOX 26 interviewed on Tuesday seemed excited by the idea.

"It’s just like my house," said Kenneth Spears. "A roof over my head and fans, I’m good to go."

Spears says he rides METRO almost every day. It’s his main mode of transportation across Houston.

"A lot of people are passing out [from the heat] out here," said Spears. "That would be kind of nice, but they should do more than just that."

Currently, many bus stops across the Houston area don’t have any shade. METRO says they plan to add roughly 2,000 bus shelters over the next five years.

"We hope to be able to work in partnership with the congresswoman to maybe get some federal funding to pay for this project."

METRO is working to perfect their solar-powered design. They hope to roll out the 50 stops soon.