'Wave' Goodbye to METRO's Airport Shuttle

METRO's airport direct shuttle has struggled to make a profit since its inception in 2008 and its set to shutdown later this month. Reducing their fee from $15 dollars to $4.50 earlier this year didn't help.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport will be down a service as METRO's Airport Direct, or Route 500, prepares to shut its folding doors forever.

The question is who will take on this route?

Jerome Gray with METRO says unfortunately the ridership didn't justify keeping the service at an annual cost of nearly $2 million dollars. However he is aware their departure leaves a gap in that market.

"Certainly there is a gap METRO doesn't have a position or a stand in terms of anyone getting in the game of transporting people to the airport at this point."

Which means the market is wide open to takers such as Lauren Barrash. Barrash is the owner of The Wave, a smaller fixed rate, fixed route shuttle that brings people around Houston's hotspots, including Washington Street where the service started out.

As Barrash has worked closely with METRO since she set her service up, she feels they have a good working relationship and would be happy to take over this route.

"I think they have realized that the ridership doesn't warrant the size vehicles they have and so in fact the city feels like it's a service we need to offer, but maybe smaller vehicles. I'm definitely willing to step in if needed."

Gray says downtown stakeholders are meeting to discuss a possible list of replacements for Airport Direct and Barrash will be waiting to hear if she's top of that list.

Bio photo of Edel Howlin

Edel Howlin

Producer, Houston Matters

Edel is a producer on Houston Matters and reporter for PBS’s Newshour Weekend...