Image: METRO

As you may have noticed, the 2015 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is currently underway at NRG Park. Since March 3, the annual citywide event has drawn nearly 1.6 million people to Reliant Parkway for competitions, food, music, and boot scootin'. That's a lot of rodeo fans, and they've still got five nights left.

That's why the Rodeo and METRO regularly provide public transit services for tens of thousands of attendees who don't want to deal with the hassles of traffic and parking. Traveling Loop 610 is complicated enough, and then when you add rush hour traffic to the mix—well, that's a lot to ask of both the city and the Rodeo.

Planning to ditch the car? You've got two options: the Rodeo Express (marked in green) and the METRO Park & Ride (marked in blue). The map below gives a rough approximation for pickup and dropoff locations. You can download a PDF map and flyer courtesy Rodeo Houston.

Image: Rodeo Houston

So what's the difference? Rodeo Express buses are run by different indepedent shuttle companies, each with different pricing options for vehicle parking and shuttle services to and from NRG Park. Park & Ride locations are operated by METRO, and though they charge standard prices per passenger, parking is free. Detailed scheduling and information can be found here.

Choosing between the two usually depends on what is most convenient for you. My brother and his wife have taken Park & Ride from the Monroe location (#7) on the Gulf Freeway twice this year already. 

"It's quick, easy, and doesn't involve us driving too far," says my brother Kevin. The hard part, he notes, was getting home. At Alan Jackson's show, when crowds peaked at 135,419, double-duty was required by Rodeo Express and Park & Ride services. Lines for buses were long, with wait times of up to an hour and a half.

All of which is to say: if you're hoping to catch the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo during its final five nights and you don't want to take the car, plan ahead. Make sure you know where the closest Express or Park & Ride location is, give yourself plenty of time to travel to NRG, and remember your stop number when heading into the stadium.

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