$4.50 FROM DOWNTOWN TO THE AIRPORT That shuttle service Metro’s been running from Downtown to IAH just got a whole lot cheaper — and added a few stops on the way. The Airport Direct service used to leave from the transit center at 815 Pierce St. with maybe one or 2 passengers a trip and cost $15 one-way ($10 if you could show a valid plane ticket). As of yesterday, the ride now costs $4.50, but stops also at the Main St. Square station and the Four Seasons, Hyatt, and Hilton Americas hotels before heading up the freeway. The transit agency has been losing $1.5 million a year on the every-30-minute service since it was introduced more than 2 years ago. [Houston Chronicle]
I thought I heard that it wasn’t going to stop at any Metro Rail stations. That’s a big relief to know it at least going to stop at Main Street Square. I’m probably one of the few people who uses this regularly (and rides the Metro Rail to get to the bus).
This is a fabulous deal and I have used it several times even when it weas $15. But I can see why they were losing money. There was never more than 4 others when I went. Folks from out of town probably don’t know about it or hear the word Metro and think “Yuk”. Business folks don’t care about cab fare and parking costs.
I’m suprised the Yellowcab cartel let this rate reduction pass. I might actually use this service now that it’s cheaper than airport lot parking and I can not worry about my car sitting in a lot.
Very few people know about this METRO service. Shame on METRO for not promoting it better, especially since it’s losing serious money.
Would it be cheaper if they ran a smaller bus?
We have consultants come in my office from all over the country but most skip this service.
They are on an expense account after all and just pay for a cab or town car.
Are guests of the 4 Seasons really going to ride Metro to the airport?
I’ve been taking the rail->Airport Express routinely for trips lasting longer than a couple of days. Part of my math was that it was approximately as fast as driving to IAH (in the non-HOV lanes), parking, then taking the parking shuttle, and at only $20 roundtrip (if flying CO), gas+parking fees made it monetarily worthwhile in about 3 days.
The new deal takes $10 off a round trip price, which is nice, but it was already cheap enough compared to driving or that horrid Super Shuttle. And that $10 comes at the cost of leaving 15 minutes earlier and getting home 15 minutes later. As a result, it seems that the last departure time from terminal C moves from 8 PM to 7:45 to accommodate the extra wait, which means that flights with scheduled arrival at IAH after about 7 or 7:15 risk missing the return bus (especially with luggage or gates at other terminals, and more like 6:30 if you have to clear customs). I think I liked the old deal better.
I took this so-called “express” shuttle from IAH once as an experiment. Even though METRO called it an “express,” I was surprised to find myself on the bus tooling around some sketchy neighborhoods near the airport picking up and dropping off passengers before finally getting on 45 and heading downtown.
Isn’t there a rail line that runs from downtown almost to the airport already? Would it kill them to add reliable train service between the two?
yes, it would in fact bankrupt them to put up rail service between the two.
we could use the toll income from BW8 and HOV lanes to build more infrastructure……oh wait, that’s a private company legally entitled to screw over houstonians, nevermind.
Joel: You are correct that METRO’s budget would not accommodate eminent domain procedings against Union Pacific for control of its frieght rail line along Hardy Rd., however you are incorrect that the Harris County Toll Road Authority is a private entity. The HCTRA is a branch of the Harris County Public Infrastructure Department. It is limited to expenditures related to the construction or maintenance of toll roads or of infrastructure that will enhance their accessibility; unrelated expenditures are unauthorized and would be illegal; their public debts are secured by Harris County; they adhere to standard governmental accounting practices and are subject to FOIA.
i’m sure it’s the usual technical mumbo-jumbo involved with using debts and creating new infrastructure, but you can’t take away my memory of the roads in pasadena being taken away and suddenly having to pay to get on the same roads with a new coat of concrete and that westpark tollway nightmare doesn’t help either (light rail excuse doesn’t sound too good at this point).
it’s still an entity taxing people (through fees) that does not appear very open to public comment. always meant to check their statements to see what revolving debts, reserves, revenues, budgets and etc. they have going on.