The Airport Direct Shuttle’s Long Goodbye

THE AIRPORT DIRECT SHUTTLE’S LONG GOODBYE After a ride on Metro’s newly discounted but still cold-as-a-meat-locker Downtown-to-IAH shuttle, Texas Watchdog reporter Steve Miller hears from an Airport Direct staffer just how last-ditch an effort last month’s price cut was. The new $4.50 one-way fare has increased revenue only slightly, the staffer reports, “but it will have to do more or the plug will be pulled in June.” In less-direct language, a Metro spokesperson backs up that statement. [Texas Watchdog; previously on Swamplot]

14 Comment

  • That’s too bad. That $4.50 fare encouraged me to take the Metro airport shuttle home after bad weather in the northeast messed up my airport pick-up plans (as well as my flight). Courteous and helpful Metro staff at the desk and the bus, a clean, quiet, direct ride, and all for $4.50. Living close to downtown meant an easy hitch home from the Hyatt Regency. IT worked for me and was a hell of a lot easier than having someone shlep out to IAH to pick me up, and loads cheaper than driving and parking myself, taking a cab, or dealing with the vagaries of Super Shuttle.

  • Miz Brooke, I’m with you. Once I found out about this most remarkably un-advertised secret bus I cheerfully paid even the earlier $13 fare every time I flew.
    What a bargain!
    Always clean, comfortable, convenient,on-time. And sadly, mostly empty.

  • Since when does Metro worry about revenue?

  • Why the hell do people insist that public services turn a profit? Public transit never has – since it has been taken out of the private sector’s hands – and shouldn’t be. In order to run profits on mass transit you need overcrowded conditions and poor maintenance conditions. It’s a SERVICE not a BUSINESS.

  • If Metro had had any common sense, or vision, the first light-rail project that Houston built should have been an Express from IAH to downtown. It is ludicrous that a town this large- the Oil Company Hub for North America- has no Mass Transit in place(except the pitiful and doomed, above-mentioned bus). Rather “Bush league”….I would say.

  • this should have been the first rail line
    iah to downtown

  • Trevor, it’s certainly not the concern about “turning a profit” but about the proper allocation of funds to best serve citizens. I’m surprised they’ve wasted as much money as they have already in trying to keep this propped up.

    Just seems it was always doomed from the start since all business travelers will automically bypass this service and there just isn’t enough reach in metro’s services to make it useful for the vast majority of people in the greater houston area.

  • I feel like Metro’s problem with the service is that no one even know’s about it. I would certainly use it but the first time I’ve even heard of it is on Swamplot last month.

  • i’d have to think that nobody in houston would ever vote to raise sales taxes enough so that metro could afford to build a IAH to DT rail line and i doubt it’s the type of project that qualifies for the gov’t mass transit funds. i really don’t see the feasibility in it either though as i would think the rail line would have to direct a sizeable majority of all the airport traffic to get enough revenue for operation and maintenance but with as spread out as our city is that’s near impossible.

  • metro has run ads in the chron & on their web site the past 5 years.
    and if you ride the bus you would have know…i have used many times…..

  • Even before the $13 dollar shuttle, Metro has had buses that go to both airports. They aren’t expresses, but they will get you there. Cheap.

    Last year, a lady visiting our office was distressed because she needed a ride to the airport. She had hours to spare. I suggested the bus, showed her the online schedule & pointed out we were near a transit center. She & everybody in the office looked at me as though I had suggested she hitchhike–& catch a vehicle with one of those “Ass, Grass or Gas” bumper stickers. They were shocked that anybody would consider such a plebian mode of transport. Continuous effort by our administrative staff secured information on a limo….

    A more high tech way to get to IAH would be great. And I wish we had more light rail NOW. But the existing Red Line is heavily used, daily. By more people than go to IAH every day. But many of us use it in tandem with the bus. So we’re just peasants.

  • Maggie- the difference with the Airport Shuttle was that is was truly, scrupulously, on time. When catching a flight the vagaries of regular bus service would be way too nerve-wracking for me, no matter how cheap. But this shuttle was amazingly well run, and it really did leave every 30 minutes.
    So paying more than for a regular bus seemed plenty OK to me.

  • agreed, as metro rider they are very flexible with their sense of timing on normal bus routes.. Nothing like leaving half an hour earlier and still arriving at the same time, late. Nothing like already being late to work while your driver stops at Vallero for 10-15 minutes at 8:50am, and then proceeds to drive 20 miles under the speed limit. Where as in the afternoon they’ll happily do the speed limit+ but at 5:30 who really cares. Some are better than others, but this has been my regular experience, and I too would be dubious of depending on metro to make my flight.

  • I’ve taken that bus maybe 7 or 8 times, and it has been consistently excellent, both at the old price and the new. Houstonians just need to get over the highly prevalent attitude that everything that isn’t a car might as well be herpes.