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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

Company operating SH 130 may default

Oops. The company behind a privately operated Texas toll road that sports the country’s fastest speed limit is dangerously close to defaulting on its debt, according to a credit rating agency. According to a report released this week by Moody’s Investors Service, the SH 130 Concession Company, which operates the 41-mile southern portion of State […]

There’s an app for alternate mobility in Houston

This makes a lot of sense. Technology companies might soon upend Houston’s paid ride market, but they’re already adding new options for getting around the region. Local groups and software developers are tapping into Houston’s sophisticated traffic management system to offer solutions beyond heading onto the freeway. The hope is that better information will help […]

Another taxi survey

From the inbox: Vehicle for hire industry survey The City of Houston has retained Taxi Research Partners to conduct a study of demand within the vehicle for hire industry in Houston. The study will review current market conditions, identify key players and stakeholders in the industry and will establish a baseline for demand for those […]

Vehicles for hire vote put off till end of July

Seriously? The Houston City Council delayed a vote until July 30 on regulations for the vehicles-for-hire industry, keeping Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc.’s legal status in Houston in limbo. Council member Mike Laster proposed an initial delay of 60 days, saying, “I believe this cake is not fully baked.” The delay was then reduced […]

Here comes the Uber and Lyft vote

Barring anything unexpected, today is the day that Houston City Council settles – for now, anyway – the Uber/Lyft issue. Houston is not the only place where transportation network companies are seeking to do business in Texas, of course. The Trib takes a look at the state of play around Texas. “As the current city […]

Culberson versus Poe on University line funding

Unfortunately, Culberson has won again. In a repeat of last year, Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, and Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, took their dispute over the Metropolitan Transit Agency’s University Line to the floor of the House on Monday. Culberson, as he has for the past two years, added a section to the federal transportation spending […]

Christof Spieler: On reimagining the bus network

Note: From time to time, I solicit guest posts from various individuals on different topics. While I like to think I know a little something about a lot of things, I’m fortunate to be acquainted with a number of people who know a whole lot about certain topics, and who are willing to share some […]

It takes time to park, too

The Atlantic Cities had an article a couple of weeks ago about light rail in Houston. It’s an overview written for people who aren’t from Houston, so other than the extremely high opinion of themselves of some rail opponents – who knew we needed Daphne Scarbrough’s permission for infrastructure projects in this town? – there […]

Culberson’s attempt to kill the Universities Line about to come up for a vote

From Houston Tomorrow: US Representative John Culberson has pushed an amendment through to the floor of the US House of Representatives to specifically deny Houston federal funding for rail transit in two corridors, according to the text of the bill HR4745 (page 52, section 165): SEC. 165. None of the funds in this or any […]

Vehicle for hire vote tagged

No surprise here. I had thought the ordinance was still in committee, but it went before the full Council yesterday. It was of course tagged – we weren’t going to have this vote only one week after the HERO vote, no way in hell on that. Most of the story recapitulates stuff we know, so […]

And we circle back to Uber and Lyft

Took longer than we thought it would, but on we move to the next contentious debate. Companies that connect riders with drivers via smartphone and tablet applications could operate legally in Houston, subject to certain conditions, under a proposal to be considered Wednesday by the City Council. The suggested changes to Houston’s taxi and limousine […]

Redefining residential streets

Streets are about more than just cars. Where the rubber will meet the road on this, as it were, is on busy residential streets like Dunlavy in Montrose, where new city planning codes will have an effect. Dunlavy is, at least in theory, a four-lane street between Allen Parkway and U.S. 59. Some drivers question […]

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 […]