It was mass-transit near-chaos Friday afternoon, when tens of thousands of Astros fans clamored to get to the downtown parade, hoping to take advantage of free METRO service.

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To help bolster increased Friday afternoon traffic, the agency introduced service limitations hoping to streamline operations. Additional shuttles were also offered.

But that didn’t stop the epic lines.

At NRG Stadium, parade-goers wrapped around the facility, with some people waiting upwards of three hours for a train.

METRO officials said they were working overtime to make sure the afternoon went as smoothly as possible.

“We are continually working to get as many buses out as possible and getting patrons to their destinations,” METRO public information officer Laura Whitley told ABC13. “We understand this event is important to the community which is why we offered free service the entire day. We certainly apologize for any inconvenience. However, we are faced with same gridlock traffic conditions other vehicles are facing. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience.”

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With officials estimating about 1 million people at the parade, the congestion was hardly a surprise.

The METRO spokeswoman encouraged people to take their time leaving the downtown area.

“We encourage fans to enjoy the festivities in downtown Houston after the parade and not feel rushed to return home immediately. Please exercise patience and understand, METRO will get you home,” Whitley said.

Anna Caplan contributes to Rare Houston and Rare Animals. 
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