A Beer Market Headed for Midtown; Better Bus Service to Hobby and Bush


Photo of I-10: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


18 Comment

  • Regarding light rail to airport destinations, I read this comment:
    “If you want to know why it is so expensive, just watch the construction crews for a few weeks. As soon as the finish a section and repave it nice and neat, Bam! they tear it up and do it over. Sometimes, they tear it up again. It definitely takes two attempts and sometimes three attempts before it is good to go.”
    Does anybody have any comments as to whether or not there is any merit this?

  • Why isn’t there a downtown to IAH/Hobby train? Non stop. I’d think that would be pretty popular. Hell, I’d take it. I could walk to the midtown station, go to whatever ‘hub’ it left from, and zoom off to the airport. I hate taking cabs. I hate shuttles. And I hate leaving my car up there.
    Seems like it’d be pretty busy, no? You could even charge a special fair of $20 or so. People would pay it.

  • @Cody: I asked that question long ago. It falls under the “commuter rail” category. We can’t build commuter rail to downtown until we have the mass transit in place downtown to get people the rest of the way. Very few people arriving at IAH are headed to the imaginary downtown transit center. Most will want to go someplace else. Once light rail and bus infrastructure is built up, then commuter rail can work.

  • Denver is currently building rail out to Denver International, which is just as far our of the city as IAH is here (probably more so). In the meantime though, Denver has bus services to the airport that operate from several of their suburban Park and Ride locations. You get to park at the lot for free, and pay about $8 to ride a bus nonstop to the airport. METRO should think about this. Not everyone is going to go to downtown just to catch a bus to the airport. But I’d imagine a fair number would utilize shuttles from say Spring, NW Transit Center, Katy, etc. to access IAH. You do a similar service from Bay Area P&R to Hobby.

  • “Once light rail and bus infrastructure is built up, then commuter rail can work.”. Oh, so, never. Bummer. I would take it, too. I would also take a train from Houston to Galveston. I think that would be a blast.

  • i rode the Downtown to IAH bus regularly. There were generally 3 or 4 of us. I don’t recall ever seeing more than 10 people. Based on this data point, I don’t think anyone would use the light rail to get to IAH. Although people on this website are pro rail and public transportation and say that they would use public transportation, actions speak louder than words. In addition, other than at rush hour, I suspect you can get to IAH faster in a car than by light rail, which will have numerous stops and limited speed.

  • I rode the train from Chicago’s O’Hare airport to The Loop and back. Lots of people on that train, and it was reasonably fast. Once I got downtown there were buses and trains going everywhere I needed to be. Houston could have the same amenities if we wanted.

  • If you can afford a plane ticket, you can afford a cab. DEAL WITH IT.

  • The problem with a downtown/IAH transit connection is that capacity utilization is low unless there’s some specific event that’s happening that will drive traffic in that direction. Downtown just isn’t as important as we think it is in the scope of the region that is being served by IAH and Hobby — which is a larger region, btw, than even the Houston MSA.

    The best way to address this is to provide affordable offsite parking and a direct airport shuttle service between each of the P&R lots and IAH at the very least, and ideally to both IAH and Hobby. And they need to advertise the hell out of it, both inside the airport and on the roads, including official-looking on-freeway signage that directs traffic to the sites. Most locals don’t even read the news, much less keep up with urban issues the way that Swamploters do, and our collective civic ignorance is hard enough to overcome; but they need to sell their services to non-locals, which has perhaps in the past been the ‘bridge too far’. (On a related subject, btw, the Rodeo advertises their transportation plans a whole lot more effectively on a seasonal basis than METRO advertises their year-round services. METRO is a failure in more ways than just project management.)

  • You can take Metro now to Hobby but it’s a bus. I’ve done it and it’s full of poor people as the airport is near low-income nabes. Just a few of us got off at the airport. They can build a ridiculously expensive MetroRail extension off of the Purple Line and you would still have a bunch of low-income people with a just a handful of oddballs with luggage.

  • When I was in Atlanta last year on business, I took the MARTA from the airport to midtown and walked <5 mins to my hotel. It was fantastic. Sure, I could have had the company pick up the cab ride or car rental, but for $5 R/T and not having to deal with Atlanta traffic, it was definitely worth it. My colleagues each rented their own vehicle and had it sit in the hotel garage the entire time we were at a business conference.

  • As others have noted, having light rail (or any particularly expensive form of public transit) to the airports is really only justifiable if it’s being done to primarily serve high-density neighborhoods along the way, or serve outlying Park & Rides for general commuters (meaning in that case that it also would have to be fast). For IAH this certainly doesn’t apply. Hobby is more justifiable, but as was also noted, you’d be riding with the poor hoi-polloi. I’m assuming that those advocating such an extension wouldn’t mind that?

  • Fernando: Exactly. If rail took you from airport to downtown, it would help more than those looking to go downtown. It would help those that are serviced by rail FROM downtown.
    I could go right downtown, then jump on rail to the midtown station and do a 5 min walk home from there. It would get my car off the road to/from the airport and out of the off site parking at the airport where it sits the whole time I’m gone.

  • Local: Why would I give two figs if I was riding with “poor” people on the way to the airport? Hell, according to my FICO score and tax returns, I’m about as poor as they come — so I’d just hope they’d accept ME on their train.

  • I’m trying to figure out whether or not Cody is being facetious, since the particulars of his proposal (central “hub” boarding location, $20 premium fare) exactly match Metro’s previous attempt at an airport express, which they canceled due to abysmal ridership.

  • @ Cody: You aren’t a normal user of the airport. METRO has to contend with the biases of normal people to make a service worthwhile. Normal users of the airports dislike being in the company of people that they perceive as being poorer (or in general, of lower social status) than they are. This is an unfortunate truth, but it is what it is.

  • Metro needs to invest in virtual reality goggles that make everyone around you look slightly wealthier than you. Problem solved.

  • TheNiche: odd, as mot places that have rail (or subways – see New York) have all classes on it. Save the VERY rich that might private car everywhere. I thought most objection to rail was “sure, but how do I get to it? Or from it to my final destination”. I’m lucky in tht its a short walk and goes lots of places I want to go (well, downtown, herman park, and reliant). If it also zipped up to the airport that woud be great.
    Purple City: unless you see me say “I love red tags”, I’m generally being serious.