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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

Another lawsuit against Uber

Hard to keep track of them all. A former San Antonio-area driver for Uber has filed a class-action lawsuit against the ride-hailing company, alleging it pays drivers less than minimum wage, makes them eat expenses it should pay for and misleads users into thinking they do not have to tip drivers. David Micheletti is among […]

More on the high speed rail station in Houston

The Chron frets about it not being downtown. After hearing so much about how the proposed Central Texas Railway will help people commute between the central business districts of Houston and Dallas, it turns out that the Houston station will be built near the Northwest Mall at U.S. 290 and Loop 610. Unless your business […]

What people use B-Cycle for

From Rice University: A new report from Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research finds that Sun Belt city residents are most likely to use bike-share programs for recreation, compared with users in the Midwest or Northeast, who regularly use the same programs for their daily commute. The report, “Shifting Gears: Framing Bike-sharing Trends in […]

Everybody wants in on the rail action

We’re like a magical land of opportunity for high-speed rail interests. For more than three years, Japanese-backed Texas Central Partners has drawn attention with its plans to develop a Dallas-Houston bullet train. While that project is furthest along, French and Chinese rail interests are more quietly discussing the prospects for rail projects with state and […]

Metro wants to know what you think of bus system reimagining

This ought to be interesting. Starting Monday, Metro workers will be at bus stops and transit centers surveying riders about the changes, which took effect Aug. 16. The new system altered practically every bus trip in the Houston area, as Metropolitan Transit Authority officials shifted to more frequent service along some lines. Though some riders […]

Red lights on the Green line

Alas. Light rail is up and running along Harrisburg on the city’s east side, but Metro’s construction continues to be a sore spot with area residents because it seems at every turn the work is taking longer than promised. The latest delays come from sluggish work to move utilities and excavate for a planned overpass […]

The FRA releases its alignment analysis for the high speed rail line

There will be no downtown Houston station, that much is for sure. The area around U.S. 290 and Loop 610, anchored by Northwest Mall, is likely to be the end of the line for a proposed Houston-to-Dallas high speed passenger train. The Federal Railroad Administration has eliminated from consideration both of the paths that would […]

Another review of Metro’s bus system reimagining

This time from the Chron: Nearly three months into what many consider the most significant operational change any American transit system has made in three decades, Houston transit officials and supporters are calling the new bus network a rousing success. Critics, however, point to broken connections and to transit-dependent riders whose service has been cut […]

Where things stand with bus ridership

Jarrett Walker, one of the consultants who helped design the new Metro bus network, looks at the most recent stats from Metro and tells us what they mean. It’s now been about two months since Houston METRO implemented their New Network, developed through a process called the System Reimagining. The first ridership numbers are in, […]

Lawsuit against Uptown line dismissed

We haven’t heard the last of this, of that you can be certain. A judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a dedicated bus lane project in Houston’s Uptown area, but the ruling is not a final resolution of the dispute. State District Judge Brent Gamble on Thursday dismissed the lawsuit filed by Cosmopolitan Condominium Owners […]

The Prop 7 funds are already being claimed

Get ready for a lot more road construction in the near future. Voters have a little more than a week to decide whether to give Texas highways a $2.75 billion annual funding boost, but Houston-area officials are already making plans to spend the money. In the event Proposition 7 passes – the proposal has silent, […]

The (mostly) high speed rail extension to Fort Worth

I hope they can make this happen. A proposed high-speed rail route cutting through Dallas-Fort Worth would go slower than previously planned but would include a station south of DFW Airport, according to a newly unveiled plan. The proposal, which is being studied by a state-appointed commission, would bring passengers from downtown Fort Worth to […]

Uber returns to San Antonio

They’re back. The ink had barely dried on the signed operating agreement when ride-hailing firm Uber restarted operations in San Antonio Tuesday, ahead of competitor Lyft, which agreed to a deal in August but has yet to implement services here. The Uber smart-phone application went live Tuesday at about 3:30 p.m., just as the company […]

Metro once again considers advertising

And I once again say go for it. Thursday, Metropolitan Transit Authority board members will consider researching options for putting ads inside buses and trains, as well as text-based ads for those who use the system’s next-bus texting service. Metro board member Diann Lewter said the discussion is preliminary, but she and others want to […]

The economic impact of the high speed rail line

It could be a lot, if one study is to be believed. An analysis of a planned high-speed line between Houston and Dallas shows the $10 billion-plus project will have an economic impact roughly three times its expected price tag, though critics contend that estimate ignores many costs rural residents will pay, if the line […]

A new Uber competitor enters the scene

Here’s Get Me. Less than two years after Uber disrupted Houston’s taxi market – with most of that time spent largely competition-free – the company now finds itself the established player facing upstart competition. Get Me, a Dallas-based company that launched in North Texas in August and Austin earlier this month, is scheduled to start […]

Uber and Lyft versus fingerprints

They prefer to do their own background checks, which of course do not require fingerprint checks. Houston, San Antonio and Austin currently take different approaches to a key regulatory issue: whether vehicle-for-hire app drivers must undergo fingerprint background checks. The issue has proven pivotal to Uber and Lyft in Texas. Lyft refuses to operate in […]

Uber update, part 4

Here’s the last installment of the Chron/Al Jazeera analysis of how Uber is operating in Houston. Most of the story is about what parts of town have better service from Uber – short answer, inside the Loop – and how Uber is attempting to improve service in parts of town that have not been well […]

Uber update, parts 2 and 3

Driving for Uber is a tough way to make a living. One hundred job applications and still nothing. Jennifer Cantrell, 34, partway through a master’s degree in social work, had depleted her savings and needed a new plan. Through Facebook, she found out about someone subleasing cars to prospective drivers for Uber, the smartphone-based ride […]

Uber update, part 1

The Chron, in conjunction with Al Jazeera Americas, gives the first of what should be a four-part look at how Uber is doing in Houson. Less than a year after Houston began regulating so-called transportation network companies, questions persist about safety assurances from Uber, the city’s sole entrant in the field. Uber is testing local […]

San Antonio implements Vision Zero

Good for them. Tuesday marked the official launch of San Antonio’s Vision Zero, a multi-national awareness and educational initiative that calls for zero traffic fatalities. It’s a lofty goal, but proponents of the plan say these deaths, especially those of pedestrians, are preventable accidents that can be systematically addressed with infrastructure and safety education. Last […]

B-Cycle expansion coming

Good. Houston area officials are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into widening Interstate 45, and they could be paying much more for even larger upcoming projects along the corridor. But a comparatively-paltry sum is about to boost bike sharing in Houston in a big way. The same transportation improvement plan aiming $140 million at […]

No way to run a road bond election

Am I a bad person for being unreasonably amused by this? A special prosecutor has been assigned to determine whether behind-the-scenes negotiations could void a last-minute deal struck by Montgomery County commissioners to get a scaled-back $270 million road bond package on the upcoming November ballot. At question is whether some commissioners and a powerful […]

Checking in on Texas Central

It’s still going. The private firm hoping to build a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston has been celebrating a summer of successes: completing a successful round of fundraising, seeing a key federal study move forward, surviving the legislative session unscathed. But three years after Texas Central Partners first revealed its ambitious venture, a […]

August ridership numbers for the new rail lines

Again, don’t get too excited just yet. Use of Houston’s two newest rail lines increased in August, though it took a strong late showing and free rides to finally meet the ridership expectations Metro officials outlined in May. According to ridership figures released Thursday, average boardings at the shared stations downtown where both Green and […]

Uber wants to add more drivers here

An Uber surge is coming. Eighteen months after launching in Houston, Uber, the popular ride-sharing service known for its conflicts with regulators, plans to add 5,000 drivers in the area over the next year. Uber leaders, staff of the nonprofit Change Happens and local NAACP leaders on Thursday are expected to announce a partnership aimed […]

Lone Star Rail updates

From last week, San Antonio City Council gets set to make a financial commitment to the Lone Star Rail line. San Antonio is expected to make its first financial commitment to building the Lone Star Rail line next week when city council members vote for a budget that includes $500,000 for the project. […] San […]

Yes, there are some people complaining about the new bus routes

The Houston Press talks to a few of them. The 87 still runs—just not right here. While the previous bus network had 89 routes, the new one has 79—and as a result, low-income communities like Hersey’s lost access to 12 routes, while non-low-income communities gained three. That’s according to the April 2015 analysis Metro was […]

Three I-45 updates

From The Highwayman: Texas Transportation Commission members on Thursday approved a $3.6 million contract with Main Lane Industries, based in Houston, to replace the entrance ramp from Allen Parkway to southbound I-45. The ramp, which whips drivers through a steep curve before they merge into the fast lane of the southbound freeway, is a well-known […]

On cellphones and school zones

I guess I need to talk about this. Six years ago, state lawmakers hoping to protect students banned drivers from texting and talking on hand-held cellphones in school zones. The ban, however, has never been enforced in Houston. City and school district officials have opted not to install the warning signs needed to issue tickets, […]

Uber’s class action lawsuit woes

Of interest. Uber’s business model is on the rocks late Tuesday after a federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit targeting the company’s treatment of drivers as independent contractors. The case is one of several high-profile suits brought by drivers against the technology start-up that has displaced traditional taxis in many markets. A California […]

More on Uber and drunk driving

We have a study. In this work, we investigate how the entry of the driving service Uber influences the rate of alcohol related motor vehicle homicides. While significant debate has surrounded the entry of driving services like Uber and Lyft, limited rigorous empirical work has been devoted to uncovering the social benefits of such services […]

The Press on the high speed rail line

The Press devotes a cover story to the proposed Houston-Dallas high speed rail line. Most of what’s there will be familiar to anyone who has been following this along with me, but this bit from the story caught my eye. Financing will be complex. Tim Keith, a North Texas native with a quarter century’s experience […]

Three Metro updates

The Metro board has its first meeting post-system reimagining, and gets some feedback on the new routes. At Metro’s first board meeting following the launch of the new network, officials heard about two hours of public comment from unhappy riders. One of those riders was Jennifer Williams. She commutes from southwest Houston to her job […]