Houston METRO Slashes Fare to Airport, Hopes to Lure More People On-Board

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(Houston - Wendy Siegle, KUHF News) If you need a ride to Bush Intercontinental from downtown Houston,  consider this: For four dollars and fifty cents METRO will drive you there. The new price tag for the 45 minute shuttle ride is 70 percent less than the old price of $15. METRO’s Airport Direct was criticized in the past for its lack of ridership. The 52-seat coach rarely saw more than a handful of passengers per trip. Kimberley Slaughter, vice president of service, design, and development at METRO, says the cost of the service probably deterred some would-be riders. “For our everyday customers,I think, especially with this economy, $15 may have been a little more expensive for them," she said.  "$4.50 makes it more affordable.”

Hear the story over at KUHF News.

The shuttle will also stop at more downtown locations - five in total. Slaughter says the majority of people who use the service are out-of-towners, here on business. But she says with the changes, it’s now a viable option for everyone. The agency is also working to make more people aware that the Airport Direct line exists. “We are looking to do a lot more marketing,” said Slaughter. There are signs and pamphlets at the airport, but Slaughter says they may install permanent monitors advertising the service as well.

But even though METRO expects the changes will increase ridership,  it will cost METRO about the same, some $1.9 million dollars a year. “We’re not reaping any cost savings here," she said. "What we are trying to do is to make it more appealing, add more customer service to it, and make sure that we’re providing the service that the customer wants.”

The revamped service started Sunday and will still run every thirty minutes, seven days a week.