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Home> Destinations> America> Houston> Transportation

Getting around Houston

Updated: 2014-07-21 / (visithoustontexas.com)

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Rail System

METRORail offers convenient accessible service within the heart of the city between downtown Houston and Reliant Park, including the Museum District and Texas Medical Center.

METRORail development continues with the ongoing construction of two additional rail lines.

Also be aware that you can purchase a day pass for use on METRORail and METRO buses for just $3 a day.

Bus System

METRO offers several types of bus service in Houston.

• Local service runs mostly on city streets, stopping at every other corner along its route. One-way fare is $1.25.

• Park & Ride service is for long-distance commuting. METRO’s 28 Park & Ride lots provide bus service to key destinations in the service area. One-way fare ranges from $2 to $4.50, depending on distance.

METRO Statistics

• Bus Fleet - 1,211

• Service area - 1,285 square miles

• Miles of light rail - 12.8

• Planned additional miles of light rail - 10 miles

• Local one-way fare - $1.25


Houston has more than 2,400 taxis in its fleet. There are also 1,700 limos and town cars.

$6 Cab Fare Anywhere Downtown

The City of Houston has authorized a flat taxi fare of $6 for all trips in the downtown area. This $6 fare will apply anywhere within the Central Business District, bounded by Interstate 45, Interstate 10 and U.S. 59. The fare, in addition to increased downtown taxi stands, provides an easy alternative to driving to lunch, business meetings and activities throughout the downtown area. No surcharges will apply to the fare, which can accommodate multiple riders under the $6 total rate.

Taxi stands are designated areas where cabs can "stand" and wait for a fare. Additionally, there are at least 30 "hailing cab" icons on various downtown streets, which mark that particular site as a three-minute zone where taxis can briefly stop to pick up and drop off passengers.

Approximate cab fares from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

• Downtown $45

• Reliant Park Area $54

• Texas Medical Center $50

• Uptown/Galleria $45

• Greenway Plaza $50

Approximate cab fares from William P. Hobby Airport

• Downtown $22

• Reliant Park Area $27

• Texas Medical Center $27

• Uptown/Galleria $45

• Greenway Plaza $32

*Above rates include up to four people per cab.

Would you rather have the taxi come to you? Here are the numbers you need:

• Fiesta Cab Co. ................ (713) 225-2666

• Liberty Cab Co. ............... (713) 695-6700

• Lone Star Cab Co. ......... (713) 444-4444

• Yellow Cab Houston ...... (713) 428-5810

Note: For the fastest pick up, use the Yellow Cab's Hail A Cab app or Lone Star Cab's Taxi Magic app.

Jitney Service

The Wave--a hybrid between a taxi, limo and public bus--is a jitney service that shuttles folks around Houston's primary nightlife areas, including Midtown, Montrose, Downtown, Uptown, Rice Village and the Washington Avenue corridor. There are a number of ways to catch the wave: along its route, call to see when and where the Wave will be arriving or pick it up at a designated free parking lot (southwest corner of Houston and Memorial Pkwy. and at Pizzitola's on Shepherd). Frequent riders can get a monthly membership. The Wave also offers private rentals with a concierge service.

Greenlink Buses

Free transportation in Downtown Houston

Seven buses operate in Downtown Houston Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., about 7-10 minutes apart. The route spans 2.5 miles with 18 stops and connects Metro transit stops, the convention corridor, hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

Greenlink buses stop at popular downtown destinations including GreenStreet, George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green, Main Street Square, City Hall and the Central Library and connects to Metro Park & Ride services and to the Main Street MetroRail line.

The buses run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), making them a cleaner transportation alternative. Features of the buses include a streamlined, modern design, low-floor access, perimeter seating, high-quality air conditioning, 28-seat capacity, a front-mounted bike rack and are ADA compliant.


Over 25 Zipcars are available for rent at 10 locations throughout Houston - primarily in the downtown, midtown and Greenway Plaza areas.

Zipcar allows users to rent a nearby car when they need access to it. Users can sign up for a membership online for a one-time $25 membership fee and then have access to rent a car from any Zipcar lot or from a mobile app for an hourly or daily rate. Rates typically start from $9/hour and $73/day.

The rental includes gas, a reserved parking spot and up to 180 miles of use per day. None of the Zipcars are more than a few years old, and car rentals can range from Mini Coopers to pickup trucks depending on the need of the user.

B-Cycle Program

Low-Cost Bike Share

The city's B-Cycle program kicked into high gear in 2013 with a total of 21 racks stretching from Downtown to the Museum District.

The bike-share program allows member users to check-out cruiser-style bikes free of charge for up to an hour and just $2 for each additional ½ hour. The obvious goal is to give Houstonians a vehicular alternative for relatively short jaunts. There is a membership fee on the front end, ranging from just $5 for a 24-hour pass or $65 for an annual membership.

Users can sign up for a membership online or at any of the stations. Click herefor a map of stations across the area or to sign up.

B-Cycle is ideally suited for those looking for an inexpensive way to tour around the city's core, along Buffalo Bayou or through the tree-lined streets of Montrose.

Rental Cars

Houston has a fleet of 30,000 rental cars with every major rental car company represented.


Those looking to avoid the search for parking around Downtown Houston can plan ahead with Parking Panda. The online parking reservation service allows visitors to find and purchase guaranteed parking in Downtown, any time.

Parking is 100% guaranteed, even if the location otherwise fills up, often at exclusive online discounts. Present the purchase confirmation at the selected location for an easy, turnkey experience.

Parking options are available throughout Houston, including the Convention District, Theater District, Reliant Park, Toyota Center and many other locations.

New customers can get 20% off their first purchase. Click here for coupon!

Houston Highway System

Houston is well-served by a system of radial and ring highways that provide excellent access to markets outside the region.

In the Houston Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA), 575.4 miles of freeways and expressways (55 percent of the planned system) are in operation.

Houston is the crossroads for Interstates 10 and 45. Other major highways serving Houston are Loop 610, U.S. 59, U.S. 290, U.S. 90, Texas 288, Texas 225, Hardy Toll Road, Sam Houston Tollway and the Grand Parkway (Texas 99).

Houston also lies along the route of the proposed I-69 NAFTA superhighway that will link Canada, the U.S. industrial mid-west, Texas and Mexico.

Freeway Names: More than a Number

Every freeway in the city has at least two names, some as many as seven, so it's quite likely that visitors will be baffled by this phenomenon. Here's a list to help you decode the nicknames:

• Beltway 8: Sam Houston Tollway

• Interstate 10 West: Katy Freeway, West Freeway

• Interstate 10 East: East Freeway

• Interstate 45 North: North Freeway

• Interstate 45 South: Gulf Freeway

• Interstate 45 through Downtown: Pierce Elevated

• Interstate 610: The Loop, often preceded by North, South, East or West

• U.S. 59 North: Eastex Freeway

• U.S. 59 South: Southwest Freeway, Sen. Lloyd Bentson Highway, Future Interstate Corridor, NAFTA Superhighway, I-69

• U.S. 75: See Interstate 45

• U.S. 90 East: Beaumont Highway

• U.S. 90 West: See Interstate 10

• U.S. 290: Northwest Freeway, Hempstead Highway

• Texas 6: Highway 6, Addicks Howell Road, Alvin Sugar Land Road, Addicks Satsuma Road, Hempstead Road

• Texas 3: Galveston Road

• Texas 225: La Porte Freeway

• Texas 249: Tomball Parkway

• Texas 288: South Freeway, Nolan Ryan Expressway


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