Privacy Policy


This privacy policy (“Policy”) discloses the practices of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (“METRO”) concerning information we obtain by and through your use of our website and mobile applications. If you have any questions or concerns about our Policy, please contact webmaster@ridemetro.org.

Introduction

METRO respects your privacy. Your privacy is very important to us. We protect the information that we collect as part of your use of METRO’s website and mobile applications. Information collected from the website may include web forms, or emails that you submit to us. This Policy becomes effective as soon as you access or use METRO’s website or mobile applications and is subject to change at any time.

Definitions

The following definitions apply:

Aggregate Data - Aggregate Data is statistical information derived from collective data that relates to a group or category of persons. Aggregate Data reflects the characteristics of a large group of anonymous people.

Cookie - A cookie is a small text file that a website can place on your computer’s hard drive in order, for example, to collect technical information about your activities on the website or to make it possible for you to use an online shopping cart to keep track of items you wish to purchase. The Cookie transmits the information back to the website’s computer and is the only computer that can read it.

Location Data or Location Information - Location Data or Location Information is mobile device geo-location data, including but not limited to, geolocation data from GPS, cellular, Wi-Fi services, your mobile device IP address, or other similar technology. Location Data also includes your current, past, or future location based on mobile application usage or any route planning, trip planning, or multi-modal tools accessed by you.

Personal Identifying Information (“PII”) - PII identifies or describes a person or can be directly linked to a specific individual. Examples of PII include, but are not limited to, your name, mailing address, billing address, telephone number, email address, credit or debit card number, security code and expiration date, and information related to your mobile device and location if you use METRO’s mobile applications.

Transaction Data or Transaction Information - Transaction Data or Transaction Information are details relating to the ticket transactions made to access METRO services, including but not limited to, ticket purchase, activation, validation, access, and usage.

Personal Information Collected

METRO collects information from you when you register, place an order, subscribe to a newsletter or alert, fill out a form or enter information, or use our wayfinding services. We may use this information in the following ways:

• To personalize user’s experience and to allow METRO to deliver the type of content and product offerings in which you are most interested.

• To improve our website and mobile applications in order to better serve you.

• To allow us to better respond to your customer service requests.

• To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other website feature.

• To quickly process your transactions.

• To send periodic emails or alerts regarding your order or other products and services.

The information you voluntarily provide will not be disclosed to a third party unless you agree to its release or unless required by law, court order, or as legally required to do so in connection with law enforcement investigations or other legal proceedings. METRO or its contractors do not sell, trade, or lease your personal information to anyone, except when the purpose and manner of the disclosure has been disclosed to you prior to your providing the information.

METRO may hire other companies to provide limited services on our behalf, such as processing credit card transactions, sending emails, or answering customer questions about our services. These companies may be provided with the personal information they need to deliver the service for which they are hired. We require these companies to maintain the confidentiality of the information they receive and prohibit them from using the information for any other purpose.

METRO is committed to the security of your personal information. Your personal information is contained behind secured networks and is only accessible by a limited number of persons who have special access rights to such systems and are required to keep the information confidential. In addition, all sensitive/credit information you supply is encrypted via Secure Socket Layer (“SSL”) technology. We implement a variety of security measures when you place an order, enter, submit or access your information to maintain the safety of your personal information. The information we receive is stored on our servers which are scanned on a regular basis for security holes and known vulnerabilities in order to make your visit to our website and mobile applications as safe as possible. We also perform regular malware scanning.

Information Collected and Stored Automatically

METRO does not collect PII when you visit our website or use our mobile applications unless you choose to provide that information to us. In the course of operating our website, certain information may be collected automatically in logs or by Cookies. You may set your web browser to warn you whenever a website attempts to place a Cookie on your computer or refuse to accept Cookies. METRO will use Cookies collected during your visit to this website for the purpose of facilitating your use of our website and for maintaining statistics concerning your use of our website that will help us make improvements. Technical information collected by Cookies will not be linked to your personal information.

Log Activity for Statistical Analysis

METRO may use Aggregate Data and provide Aggregate Data to others to generate statistical reports for the purpose of managing METRO operations. METRO also tracks activity and functions on its website in the form of log files on web servers. These logs are analyzed by third-party statistical analysis software solutions such as Google Analytics, Siteimprove, and Hotjar, to provide visitor activity trend data. The data gathered is used to better organize information contained on our website and to improve your experience. These files log visitors to the website, usually a standard procedure for hosting companies and a part of hosting services analytics. The information inside the log files includes internet protocol (“IP”) addresses, browser type, Internet Service Provider (“ISP”), date/time stamp, referring/exit pages, and possibly the number of mouse clicks. This information is used to analyze trends, administer the website, track your movement around the website, and gather demographic information. IP addresses and other such information are not linked to any information that is personally identifiable. This information is not used to identify you on an individual level.
METRO uses third-party services to assist us in analyzing how our website and mobile applications are used, including but not limited to the following:

• Google Analytics and Google Firebase are analytics services offered by Google to track and report website and mobile application traffic. Google uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our services. This data is shared with other Google services. Google may use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the advertisements of its own advertising network. For more information on the privacy practices of Google, please visit the Google Privacy Policy located at https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en. You can opt-out of having your site activity available to Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (gtag.js, ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) that is running on websites from sharing information with Google Analytics about your visit activity.

• Siteimprove is an analytics service utilized to track and report website traffic and accessibility compliance. Siteimprove uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our services. This data is shared with other Siteimprove services. For more information on the privacy practices of Siteimprove, please visit the Siteimprove Privacy Policy located at https://siteimprove.com/en/privacy/.

• Hotjar is an analytics service that measures and observes your behavior through the use of tools like heatmaps, conversion funnels, and form analytics. Hotjar uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our services. For more information on the privacy practices of Hotjar, please visit the Hotjar Privacy Policy located at https://www.hotjar.com/legal/policies/privacy. To stop Hotjar from storing data about your usage of our website, you can opt-out by going to this link https://www.hotjar.com/legal/compliance/opt-out.

Security and Intrusion Detection

For website security purposes and to ensure that the services remain available to all users, METRO employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, court order, or other legal proceedings, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits.

Location Information

Your use of the METRO website and mobile applications may also include collection of information about your location. The mobile applications use your precise current location via global positioning system (“GPS”) or other network location sources like Wi-Fi and cell towers. In order to use these location services, they must be turned on and available on your device. You are not required to provide Location Data for participation in the services and you have the option of declining collection of geolocation data. METRO will use geographic location information only for the limited purpose of improving its services. METRO will not distribute, sell or transfer this information to third-parties. METRO may also combine Location and Transaction Data provided by you in a non-identifiable format that may be disclosed to third parties. The combined data is used by METRO to improve METRO’s program and system. This combined data does not contain any information that could be used to contact or identify individual METRO customers or their accounts.

Notifications and Beacons

METRO will send messages in the form of mobile notifications through its mobile applications. The mobile applications may use Location Data or Location Information to display notifications. Also, messages may be activated by beacon devices in a public space, which communicate location, transit, or event information.

Links to Other Websites

The METRO website may contain links that allow access to third-party websites. These linked websites are not under the control of METRO and METRO is not responsible for the content of any linked websites. METRO provides the links only as a convenience. A link does not constitute an endorsement by METRO of the content, viewpoint, accuracy, opinions, policies, products, services, or accessibility of that website. Once you follow the link to the third-party website, you are subject to the terms and conditions of that website, including, but not limited to, its privacy policy, if any.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

Pursuant to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), children under 13 years of age must have permission from a parent or legal guardian before providing personal information on a website or application. METRO complies with the requirements of COPPA and the Federal Trade Commission’s Rule interpreting COPPA. METRO’s website and mobile applications are not directed to children, and do not knowingly collect any PII from children under the age of 13, without parental consent. If METRO learns that it has PII on a child under the age of 13 without parental consent, access to that information by the child or any third party will immediately be denied and the information removed from the system.

Notice Regarding Texas Public Information Act

METRO is a government entity under Chapter 451 of the Texas Transportation Code. As such, METRO is subject to any requests for disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act, Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code. All information, with certain limited exceptions, provided to METRO through the website, mobile applications, and web forms may be subject to disclosure to the public upon request.

Disclaimers

While we attempt to maintain accurate and current information on our website, METRO does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any material displayed on its website or on any links accessed from its website. METRO updates its website periodically and may change any of the material at any time without notice. The materials posted may be out of date and METRO makes no commitment to update the materials.

Effective Date

This Privacy Policy is effective as of August 30, 2019.