How would you get from Houston to Galveston without a car?

It’s both easier and harder than you might think. Raj Mankad tells the story.

I reached the sea without getting in a car. Over the course of my journey, which began at Rice University and ended at Stewart Beach, I took one light rail train, four buses, and walked about three miles. Every three or four minutes, I took a photograph with my phone and I compiled a video embedded below.

If the various local and federal pots of money that paid for the two major legs of the trip had been used in a coordinated manner, as part of a regional system, the $7.50 trip would have taken about an hour and a half instead of four.

A few Houstonians remember a time when an electric rail line ran to the island. Occasional attempts have been made to revive train service to Galveston. Until late 2012, the Kerrville Bus Company ran a bus between the Greyhound Station in Houston and Galveston. Megabus bought Kerrville and operated the Galveston route briefly before cancelling the service. I spoke with representatives of Greyhound and Megabus. Both explained to me that, at this time, their companies have found insufficient passenger volume and demand to support a privately operated service to Galveston.

Now, the only way to get from the island of Galveston to Houston, or from Houston to Galveston, is by private automobile, or by booking private airport and cruise shuttles for about $90 … unless you go to the lengths that I did.

Read the whole thing, it’s worth your time. Basically, he took a park-and-ride Metro bus from downtown to the Clear Lake area, then took an Island Transit commuter bus the rest of the way to Galveston. Unfortunately, the stations for each bus are about two and a half miles apart, and he had to walk from one to the other, which took over an hour and involved crossing I-45 and not always being on a sidewalk. With better coordination between the two agencies – Tory Gattis wrote about this a few years ago – Mankad or anyone else could have made that trip in a lot less time and with a lot less effort. How many might travel that way? Probably not a lot, but certainly more than the occasional adventurer like Raj Mankad, and for essentially no extra cost. Why not make it happen? Link via Gray Matters.

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