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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

San Antonio City Council has its first hearing on Uber and Lyft

Sounds pretty familiar. Chief William McManus said Wednesday that the Police Department might impound vehicles belonging to Lyft and Uber drivers if they continue to violate the city’s regulations for vehicles for hire, such as taxis and limos. The city has cited 10 drivers for Lyft and Uber for providing a taxi or chauffeurlike service, […]

The other three foot rule

This is a little bold for my taste. A Houston bicyclist is testing a year-old safety ordinance intended to ensure motorists don’t get closer than three feet from riders. While riding in the designated bike lanes of the Memorial area this month, Dan Morgan has been filming drivers who hit a flag pole sticking out […]

Enabling bike parking at restaurants

Good to see this effort is making progress. It has taken some time, but a community effort to add bike racks in the Heights is seeing results. Heights resident Mitch Cohen has placed two racks along 19th Street this year that can each store about 10 bikes and will continue raising money for more. “I […]

Costello comes out for Uber and Lyft

An email sent out by CM Stephen Costello: Over the past few months, City Council has been discussing proposed changes to Chapter 46, the city ordinance dealing with vehicles for hire. I’ve listened during committee meetings and public sessions. I’ve studied the presentations and analyzed the data. Most importantly, I’ve spoken to and read emails […]

Medical Center mobility

The problems they face today pale in comparison to the problems they will face in the future. Already the world’s largest medical complex, the Texas Medical Center is poised to get much bigger, prompting a raft of ideas ranging from routine to grandiose for expanding traffic and parking capacity. Medical Center officials predict another 28 […]

Metro to make real time bus info available

Good news from Metro: METRO’s partnership with Google is getting real – as in offering real-time bus info. To sweeten the ‘real’ deal, METRO will also be providing Google with detour alerts as well. “We are focused on improving the customer experience,” said METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia. “Not only will our customers know when […]

Uber’s “safe rides fee”

From Wonkblog on Friday: Uber is rolling out a $1 surcharge today on all rides offered through its less expensive car-for-hire service UberX. This isn’t the company’s black town car operation, but the down-market version that enables anyone with a spare back seat to give rides to strangers (with smart phones) for money. The surcharge has […]

Dallas and Seattle redoing vehicle for hire ordinances

I’ve said before that the review of Houston’s vehicle for hire codes will be a process and not a one-time deal, and that we ought to be prepared to review what we do now in another six or twelve months since we don’t really know what the effect of whatever we do here will be. […]

Your daily Uber/Lyft update

From the Tuesday Council committee hearing at which the draft ordinance was reviewed. Despite having a newly-released draft ordinance in hand, City Council members spent a Tuesday committee hearing asking many of the same questions about regulating ride-sharing services as they did months ago. Echoing concerns raised by taxi and limousine companies, council members grilled […]

Draft ordinance on vehicles for hire is out

Mayor Parker puts another item on City Council’s to do list. A proposed Houston ordinance could legalize hundreds of for-hire drivers providing rides through smartphone applications, but would require those drivers meet the same permitting and safety requirements as taxicab and limousine drivers already regulated by the city. Under the proposal by the city’s Department […]

No restraining order against Uber and Lyft

The ridesharing services in Houston and San Antonio can continue to operate, at least for now. A federal judge Monday declined to issue a temporary restraining order sought by Houston and San Antonio cab companies hoping to block ride-sharing services that permit riders to use smart phone applications to catch rides. Houston-based U.S. District Judge […]

East Enders want the underpass

We’re talking about the long-debated Harrisburg rail line extension, for which three residents of the East End took to the Chron op-ed pages to make their case for their preferred solution. East End residents worked for years with Metro to work out a solution for the light rail to cross the “east belt” heavy-rail trunk […]

Uber goes rogue

That sound you hear is me shaking my head. At least one ride-sharing company has decided to openly defy city law that bans its unlicensed drivers from charging for rides. While a few free-ride promotions remain ongoing, Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian confirmed Tuesday that the service, which connects interested riders with willing drivers via smartphone […]

Uptown BRT update

From Swamplot: HERE ARE SOME of the purty watercolor renderings the Uptown District has been presenting of what Post Oak Blvd. will look like after the addition of 2 dedicated bus lanes down its middle. The proposed changes to the thoroughfare won’t take away any of the 6 existing car lanes or 13 existing left-turn-signal […]

Taxi companies file suit against Uber and Lyft

Color me skeptical. Taxi companies in Houston and San Antonio took their turf war with two online companies to federal court Tuesday, saying Uber and Lyft are operating illegally and skimming money from taxi firms that abide by the law. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. district court in Houston, asks a federal judge to declare […]

The rideshare battles continue

From Houston: The issue came up at yesterday’s council meeting and Mayor Annise Parker said that undercover Houston police sting operations have resulted in 26 citations for Uber and Lyft drivers. They were likely, misdemeanor violations for operating an illegal taxi. The mayor’s remark was in reply to testimony from Duane Kamins, a partner, along […]

The Mayors opine for high speed rail

They pen an editorial in its favor. We are proud to be mayors of three of the largest and fastest-growing cities in America. Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston have weathered the recent economic downturn and are now the engines powering our state’s tremendous job growth. While we celebrate the individual successes of our respective cities, […]

A bumpy ride for Lyft in San Antonio

Ride sharing service Lyft has made its move into San Antonio, where much like it did in Houston it is offering free rides while regulatory issues are negotiated. Unlike Houston, the official reception they got was distinctly unfriendly. Less than a week after the ride-sharing service Lyft launched in San Antonio, the city’s police chief […]

When are we getting those trains again?

The Metro board has some doubts about railcar manufacturer CAF’s ability to keep its promises. Houston transit officials, worried that the light rail system might run short of trains for months after two new lines open, are not satisfied with a new schedule for delivery of delayed rail cars. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials expressed deep […]

The Mayors love high speed rail

As well they should. The mayors of Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth announced Thursday their unified support for the construction of a privately funded bullet train between the two metropolitan regions. “If successful, Houstonians will have a reliable, private alternative that will help alleviate traffic congestion and drastically reduce travel times,” Houston Mayor Annise Parker […]

Zipcar expands in Houston

Very cool. A car-sharing service on Wednesday expanded from spots on the Rice University campus to other locations in Houston, providing city residents with another option for transportation. Zipcar is making available 25 vehicles in 10 different locations in Houston including the downtown area, Mid-town, Greenway Plaza, and Upper Kirby. “We want the locations to […]

Goal Zero Fatalities plan for bikes adopted

From the Mayor’s office: Mayor Annise Parker today announced the City and BikeHouston are joining forces to launch a major bike safety campaign to enforce and educate motorists and cyclists about the existing Safe Passing Ordinance, as well as create a Bicycle Master Plan for the City. “As the name of this program implies, the […]

Park and Ride parking

I have no problem with this. Park and ride buses are among the cheapest options for suburban commuters who work downtown, in part because Metro provides free parking. But just as new highways increasingly require drivers to pay tolls, officials are considering changes to the park and ride system that would shift more costs to […]

The Seattle approach to Uber and Lyft

While we wait in Houston for City Council to take action on amending the taxi and limousine codes to deal with the entry of Uber and Lyft, the city of Seattle took a novel approach to the issue. In a major victory for the city’s taxi cab drivers, the Seattle City Council voted Monday to […]

Lyft has some stumbles

Oops. Lyft, known for its pink mustaches, has again been caught red-handed in Houston breaking a basic driving law. A driver for the company, which pairs riders with drivers via smartphone app, picked up a Houston investigator Monday and was cited for operating an illegal taxi service because the passenger was charged for the ride. […]

Transit ridership up nationally

Some encouraging news here. More Americans used buses, trains and subways in 2013 than in any year since 1956 as service improved, local economies grew and travelers increasingly sought alternatives to the automobile for trips within metropolitan areas, the American Public Transportation Association said in a report released on Monday. The trade group said in […]

Metro reports an increase in boardings with bikes

From the inbox: The number of people using bikes to extend their bus trips (or vice versa) increased more than 47 percent jumping from 12,111 bike bus boardings in January 2013 to 17,859 in January this year, That’s according to METRO figures which do not account for bikes taken onto light-rail trains. At the METRO […]

We’ll get our new trains in January

We have a deadline. The company building Metro’s new trains will deliver the final car to Houston five months late, according to a revised schedule submitted to the transit agency. The Metropolitan Transit Authority is reviewing the schedule, spokesman Jerome Gray said, and hasn’t agreed to the new timeline. The revision was one of the  […]

Good news and bad news on the Washington Avenue parking benefit district

As you may recall, a bit more than a year ago Council approved a plan to create a “parking benefit district” for the Washington Avenue corridor, which is a fancy way of saying they approved the installation of parking meters whose revenue would then be used to help pay for infrastructure improvements in the area, […]

City to Uber: Enough with the emails already

So this happened. The battle over Houston’s taxi rules moved Thursday from the streets to cyberspace, reflecting ongoing tension between an aggressive newcomer and a city government determined to proceed cautiously. Thousands of email messages urging elected leaders to allow the ridesharing service Uber into Houston slowed city servers and led City Attorney David Feldman […]

Cab companies push back on Uber/Lyft

The first Council action on updating the taxi and limo codes to accommodate Uber and Lyft went about as you’d expect. Houston City Council members struggled Tuesday to strike a balance between ensuring paid rides in Houston are available to everyone and encouraging competition from new firms that say they can provide faster service. Speakers […]

More on the Lyft and Uber entrances

It’s a new day in Houston for people who need a ride. Brian Walts was out until about 3 a.m. Friday hitting the clubs, but he didn’t have a single drink or set foot on a dance floor. Rather, he was driving two gents home from the Washington Avenue area for free, hoping that by […]

And here comes UberX

I mentioned this in passing yesterday, but UberX, which is Uber’s ride share service, similar in nature to that of Lyft, is now in Houston as well. Free rides suddenly became available in Houston on Thursday night as two online companies clamored for attention before they officially break into the city’s cab market. Uber, which […]

Leaning towards the over

Metro is working on a solution to the Harrisburg Line over/underpass problem. “We want the community involved and for this to be as open and honest as possible,” [Metro Board Chair Gilbert] Garcia said. Before Metro makes a decision, Garcia said, he wanted residents to have a better sense of the problem. Leaking gasoline tanks […]