Finding a smarter way to commute in Houston

KHOU 11 | Janel Forte

HOUSTON – Everyone knows Houston is a fast-paced city, but try telling that to the average H-Town commuter stuck in traffic.

It can be troublesome especially if you live in places like The Woodlands, Katy, Missouri City, and Pearland where the daily commute on average can be at least 30 minutes each way.

In fact – Houstonians spent 3,000 minutes stuck in traffic in 2017 alone, making Houston the 11th most congested city in the U.S. and nationally, the sixth most stressful city to drive in.

August is Commuter Awareness Month and the Houston-Galveston Area Council wants to give you some alternatives that could make getting around a little easier.

The first option is vanpooling – which is a good option for people who have a longer commute. There’s a number of companies in the Houston area that offer the ride-sharing program.

Metro has a program called Metro Star. STAR offers hundreds of scheduled routes in these counties: Harris, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller.

The way it works is riders share the cost of the van, fuel, maintenance, parking and tolls. STAR vanpools are often less expensive than other public or private options since the vans are driven by one or more of the riders.

STAR vanpools can to serve locations other transit services may not be able to get to and have the most flexible routes. For more information on Metro Star – click here.

Another option is hopping on the Metro Rail. With fares as low as $1.25 one way – this is a cost-efficient option for commuters. With 44 stations, it serves routes in downtown, midtown, the Museum District, Texas Medical Center, Moody Park and up to the Northline Transit Center / HCC .

“It’s a huge savings in terms of time and stress,” said Laura Whitley, a media specialist with Metro Transit Authority.

For folks with not that far to go, pedal power is an option. Hop on one of the many bike-sharing options throughout the city.

“Did you know that the average commuter loses 13 pounds in their first year cycling alone?” said Isaac Perez, the outreach coordinator for Houston Galveston Area Council.

Companies like Houston BCycle offer unlimited ride memberships for as low as $9 a month, and one-time user rates at $3 per 30 minutes.

With 60 stations and 425+ bikes throughout central Houston, you can check out and return a BCycle at any station 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can learn more here.

So this Commuter Awareness Month, take a chance and try something new.

Remember it’s not the destination – it’s how you get there.

Henry Morris