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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

Give Metro your feedback on the new bus routes

A public service announcement from Metro: METRO is excited to share the Draft Reimagined Network Plan with everyone, so if you would like a speaker to present the plan to your organization or community group, or have a question about the plan, please email Reimagining@RideMETRO.org. We will also be conducting a series of public meetings […]

More on the Metro bus system reimagining

Christopher Andrews has a practical look at Metro’s reimagined bus network. Nearly two weeks ago METRO released the System Reimagining proposal, arguably the biggest service adjustment in METRO’s existence. METRO is currently welcoming feedback on the system. I hope most feedback will be positive, as the reimagined system should provide an opportunity for ridership for […]

Walk carefully

Texas cities are not so safe for pedestrians. Yeah, I’m as shocked as you are. Houston pedestrians better cross with care. The city is the seventh most dangerous in the nation for people on foot, according to a new report from the National Complete Streets Coalition at Smart Growth America, a nonprofit that advocates for […]

Metro opts for the overpass

At this point I can hardly blame them. Houston transit officials proceeded Thursday with a controversial overpass plan for an East End light rail line, but angry city officials and residents vowed to continue fighting for an underpass. Metropolitan Transit Authority board members rejected a request by residents and the city and state officials who […]

The Observer on the high-speed rail line

Some contemplation about the prospects for success of this unique project. Ross Capon, president of the National Association for Railroad Passengers, a national Washington D.C.-based non-profit promoting the development of rail, supports Texas Central Railways’ proposal but says it could be difficult to pull off. Mass transit systems, he points out, have always relied on […]

We could have better transportation infrastructure if we wanted it

House Speaker Joe Straus embraces the end-the-diversions approach to transportation funding. Texas’ booming economy and massive transportation needs are inching the state toward simplifying highway spending, officials say. The latest move to end so-called diversions from the State Highway Fund came Wednesday, when Speaker Joe Straus said the next Texas budget proposed by the House […]

The Uber/Lyft debate comes to Austin

Get ready, y’all. The discussion around Austin’s public transportation debate has been at times both fevered and nuanced, driven in large part by social media. There have been discussions about lightrail, late-night bus service, parking ticket waivers, taxi driver accountability and, of course, drinking and driving. But during this call to action, no one name […]

Metro still aiming for an overpass

I’ll be glad when this is settled. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials said they must consider the need to extend the line east of Hughes Road, the potentially costly and time-consuming underpass construction, and the potential environment fallout after a discovery that contaminated soil was more extensive than previously believed. “We think it is our responsibility […]

Metro unveils draft bus re-imagining

Here’s your proposed new bus system. Transit planners kicked off a major shift in Houston bus service Thursday, betting that the benefit of faster service on key routes will outweigh riders’ concerns about adjusting to new schedules and service patterns. The Metropolitan Transit Authority on Thursday released a draft of its “reimagining” plan, intended as […]

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. […]