Rail Fare Facts & Paid Zones

Proof of Purchase for METRORail

Tap your METRO Q Fare Card on the Q Box and ride

METRO police perform random fare inspections aboard our trains, to verify that passengers have paid the proper fare. If unable to show proof of purchase, passengers can be fined up to $500. The following items can be used to verify your purchase:

  • Single Ride Rail Ticket purchased at a Ticket Vending Machine (TVM)
  • METRO Q® Fare Card, METRO Day Pass or METRO Money card (tapped on the Q Box before boarding)
  • TMC METRO Q® Fare Card tapped on the Q Box before boarding (valid ONLY at Memorial Hermann/Houston Zoo, Dryden/TMC, TMC Transit Center, and Smith Lands stations)

Whether you choose to ride the bus, rail or both, you'll be able to board using either a METRO fare card or cash.

METRORail Ticket

Rail tickets can be purchased using cash or a credit or debit card at any METRO Ticket Vending Machine (TVM). A one-way ticket costs just $1.25. METRO fare card users may also buy tickets for other riders, by using the value on their card.


Currency can be used to purchase both bus and rail fares. Cash is deposited into the farebox onboard the bus. To pay your METRORail fare, insert your cash into the TVM to receive a ticket. Rail tickets must be purchased prior to boarding.


You get free transfers in any direction for up to three hours – but only with a METRO fare card. Transfers are not available when paying with cash.

Types of Bus Service

Local Service runs mostly on city streets, stopping frequently at designated points along the route.

Park & Ride Service is for long-distance commuting. METRO Park & Ride lots provide bus service to key destinations within the METRO service area. A one-way Park & Ride fare varies by zone, and is based on the distance the bus travels.

Learn more about METRO fares here.

METRORail Paid Fare Zones

All METRORail platforms are Paid Fare Zones (METRO Board Resolution 2005-97). This means that anyone standing on the platform must have a valid fare item. Paid fare zones are common on non-gated platforms and will help METRO police identify and ticket fare violators.

A Paid Fare Zone violation is a Class C Misdemeanor, and is subject to a fine of up to $500.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on all METRORail platforms. This violation is a Class C Misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Smoking is prohibited on all METRORail platforms. This violation is a misdemeanor and, in accordance with City of Houston Ordinance No. 2005-245, is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000.