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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

As go gas prices, so goes interest in transit

It is what it is. Cheap gasoline has Texans driving more, indicating that efforts to promote mass transit or bicycle commuting are falling short, a new statewide poll suggests. As folks hit the road, though, they are increasingly supportive of investment in transit and bike safety, even if perhaps they’d rather see others try it […]

Trump’s toll roads

Who wants more toll roads? Part of president-elect Donald Trump’s promise to create new jobs for Americans relies on a “deficit-neutral plan” to spend $1 trillion on public works projects, including hundreds of billions for roads and rail. But the strategy could result in something many Texans aren’t going to like: more toll roads. “Unfortunately […]

Plano for high speed rail

More support for Texas Central. The Plano City Council has lent it support to a 240-mile high-speed rail project that would run from Dallas to Houston. The council voted 7-1 Monday night to adopt a resolution supporting the project, with Council member Tom Harrison the lone dissenter. City spokesman, Steve Stoler, said the council supported […]

Uber wants back in Austin

It’s how they get back that’s the question.

City reaches deal with Uber

From the inbox: Mayor Sylvester Turner today announced a comprehensive strategy to streamline the City’s vehicle-for-hire licensing process to ensure that Uber remains in Houston and that Houstonians and visitors have as many transportation options as possible during the upcoming Super Bowl. As part of the plan, Uber has committed to continuing operations in Houston […]

Texas Central releases ridership study

From their website: A comprehensive ridership study conducted by L.E.K Consulting has confirmed that Texas is ready for a privately developed Bullet Train line serving North Texas, the greater Brazos Valley and The Greater Houston Metro areas. According to this landmark study, 90% of the 16 million people living in the Texas Bullet Train service […]

Council approves city cab-hailing app development

Here it comes. Houston residents soon will be able to hail a city cab via smartphone app, after City Council signed off on a plan Wednesday to consolidate dispatching in a single program. The Arro app, already operating in New York, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago, is expected to be fully operational in Houston by […]

How’s that Uber driverless car pilot going?

A few bumps in the road, as it were. Uber driver Nathan Stachelek was pulled off to the side of the road when he saw the self-driving car turn the wrong way. It was the night of Sept. 26 and the car he had spotted, one of the autonomous Ford Fusions that Uber is testing […]

The State of Metro

Metro Chair Carrin Patman gave a “State of Metro” speech at the Greater Houston Partnership this week, and among other things she said that another referendum is in the works to finish some tasks from the 2003 vote and to address the issues we see today. One of the projects that remains unfunded is the […]

Other rideshare companies sued over lack of access for disabled people

Noted for the record. A state disability rights group has sued the ride-hailing apps Get Me and Fare in federal court, arguing that because the apps only partially offer text-to-speech software, they are unusable for blind people and therefore in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, Austin resident and accessibility consultant Jeanine Lineback, […]

Early eminent domain dispute for Texas Central

It was over before it started. Lawyers for a proposed high-speed rail line between Houston and Dallas withdrew their request for entry to a local landowner’s property, after opponents and the landowner opposed it in front of a Harris County judge, according to opponents of the project. “It is a great day for the vindication […]

Coming back to the US90A rail extension

Lots of talk, and a case for action sooner rather than later. A Metro rail extension from southern Houston to Missouri City is gaining momentum, fueled by rare near-unanimous support from local, state and federal officials who represent the area. The hope is one day whisking commuters from Fort Bend County into the Texas Medical […]

The city cab app

Meet Arro. Houston’s fractured taxi market is headed toward a rare bit of unity, with a push by the city toward how people hail cabs in the 21st century. As the taxi and limo industry adjusts to new ways of doing business, under intense competition from firms like Uber, city officials plan to consolidate dispatching […]

Abbott says something about high speed rail

Something vague, and a bit confusing. Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday expressed caution about high-speed rail in Texas, warning that any investment in transportation must not be a “money-losing proposition.” It was one of several notable topics that came up during a wide-ranging Q-and-A with the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, where Abbott also vouched […]

Who’s afraid of Uber’s driverless car test?

Transportation safety officials, at least some of them. Uber’s decision to bring self-driving taxis to the streets of Pittsburgh this week is raising alarms among a swath of safety experts who say that the technology is not nearly ready for prime time. The unprecedented experiment will launch even though Pennsylvania has yet to pass basic […]

Google enters the rideshare market

This will be worth watching. Google is moving onto Uber Technologies Inc.’s turf with a ride-sharing service to help San Francisco commuters join carpools, a person familiar with the matter said, jumping into a booming but fiercely competitive market. Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., began a pilot program around its California headquarters in May […]

Harris County to fix some Houston roads

Some good news from the inbox: As part of an agreement approved by Houston City Council today, Harris County Precinct 1 will pay for additional street improvements worth millions of dollars within the Houston city limits by year’s end. This is a continuation of an arrangement Mayor Sylvester Turner and outgoing Commissioner Gene Locke negotiated […]

How do other states regulate ridesharing?

The Texas Legislature would like to know. As Texas lawmakers consider filing legislation next year related to ride-hailing companies, they learned Tuesday that more than 30 states have passed laws calling for some level of regulation of companies like Uber and Lyft. A report presented by Texas A&M University’s Transportation Institute analyzed state and municipal […]

Rideshare companies in Austin are complying with its fingerprint requirements

Well, what do you know? All eight of the ride-hailing companies operating in Austin met a city requirement to have at least half of the rides they provided in July come from drivers who passed fingerprint-based background checks, according to a city memo released this week. Achieving that Aug. 1 benchmark — the first major […]

Next B-Cycle expansion announced

From the inbox: Houston’s bike share system, Houston B-cycle, will more than triple in size over the next two years, adding 71 stations with 568 bikes. The expansion will be paid for with federal grant dollars. “The expansion of the B-cycle system will bring bike sharing into new neighborhoods and to new users,” said Mayor […]

Driverless taxis debut in Singapore

Not fast enough, Uber. The world’s first self-driving taxis will be picking up passengers in Singapore starting Thursday. Select members of the public will be able to hail a free ride through their smartphones in taxis operated by nuTonomy, an autonomous vehicle software startup. While multiple companies, including Google and Volvo, have been testing self-driving […]

Driverless Ubers

Ready or not, here they come. The option to hail a ride in a self-driving car, which was science fiction just a few years ago, will soon be available to Uber users in Pittsburgh, the first time the technology has been offered to the general public. Within weeks, the company announced Thursday, customers will be […]

SH 130 operator to give up its ownership stake

Another step on the road to bankruptcy. SH 130 Concession Co. filed a bankruptcy reorganization plan Friday that proposes transferring company ownership to its largest lenders, which include the Federal Highway Administration and a group of European banks. The company owes more than $1.6 billion. It is owned by Spanish road developer Cintra, the majority […]

New study questions Uber effect on DUI

Interesting. The introduction of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft hasn’t had any impact on the number of fatalities related to drunken driving, a newly published study finds. Researchers at the University of Southern California and Oxford University looked at the 100 most populated metropolitan areas, analyzing data from before and after the introduction […]

Metro celebrates ridership increase one year after new bus network rollout

Leah Binkovitz reports. From September 2015 (the first full month after the switch was implemented) to July 2016 (the most recent complete month), METRO saw its ridership on local bus and light-rail add an additional 4.5 million boardings — a 6.8 percent increase. The numbers are more modest when looking at local bus ridership alone, […]

Land acquisition for the high speed rail line

It’s going great, according to the CEO of Texas Central High Speed Railway. Realty News Report: When will Texas’ first high-speed passenger railway between Dallas and Houston actually begin service? Tim B. Keith: We expect to begin construction on the nation’s first truly high-speed train system as early as next year. We expect that construction […]

El Paso revises its rideshare rules

Uber gets its preferred regimen. The El Paso City Council approved an ordinance designed to ease regulations and fees on taxis and ride-sharing companies like Uber. Amendments to the Transportation for Hire Ordinance, which Council approved unanimously on Tuesday, requires all businesses have an operating authority permit and drivers pass a background check. It will […]

Grimes County takes its own steps against Texas Central

Another day, another obstacle. In a rebuke of a private firm’s plans to build a bullet train between Houston and Dallas, local officials in rural southeastern Texas moved Tuesday to restrict high-speed rail development in their corner of the state. Grimes County commissioners voted unanimously to require high-speed rail developers to acquire a permit and […]

RIP, Lone Star Rail

This really does appear to be the end of the line. On a 17-1 vote late Monday, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board decided to kick off a two-month process to remove from its official 25-year transportation plan the proposed 117-mile rail line from San Antonio to Georgetown. A final vote will have to […]

Harrisburg overpass nearing completion

Hallelujah. Six months ago, Harrisburg Boulevard looked almost exactly as it has for more than five years, dotted by construction equipment. East of downtown Houston, the thoroughfare was more exposed dirt than street, and showed little sign of the rail overpass transit officials promised eastside residents. With no span in sight, residents – not to […]

The southern segment of the proposed Oklahoma City-South Texas passenger rail line

There’s more to it than connecting San Antonio with Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth. Two potential South Texas routes were selected for further study, according to [Rep. Henry] Cuellar. The first would originate in San Antonio and travel south outside of existing transportation corridors to a station near the Laredo-Columbia Solidarity Bridge. That route would then […]

More on commuter rail to Fort Bend

The Chron picks up the ball. In a blog post for Off the Kuff, a local progressive politics blog, former Fort Bend Democratic Party chairman Steve Brown said now is the time for local officials to form a commuter rail district. Under state law, the district, if formed, could work with Metro to develop the […]

Metro rider satisfaction

Not too bad. The recently released study by advocacy organization TransitCenter, which details attitudes about public transit nationwide, generally offers good news for METRO Houston. The Urban Edge requested Houston-specific data from the TransitCenter’s national survey of transit passengers. Roughly 76 percent of Houston respondents were somewhat or very satisfied with the frequency of METRO’s service, including bus and […]

How about a commuter hyperloop?

This sure sounds interesting. Navigating right-of-way for land development can be like drawing blood from fiercely independent landowners. But a San Antonio technology startup is banking that it has cracked the code to prying some surface rights from Texans by borrowing a concept familiar to them — royalties, not eminent domain. Oil and gas companies […]