light rail in Houston

Charles notes that today is the day the light rail line debuts here in Houston. It's also the inauguration day of Mayor Bill White, so it's a big day of pomp around here. If only Chipotle was open for lunch I'd have an excuse to go and check it out!

I am forced to admit that the trains are spiffy-looking. I'm still not convinced that they have any value in terms of commuter congestion. However, the Dryden stop and the Texas Medical Center stops would both be convenient if there was reliable bus service to the dowtown transit center from where I live (down the Gulf Freeway in Dickinson/League City). Here's what these trains need to become useful for commuters:

1. They must run from very early in the morning to very late at night. I think they have this covered, the Chron had a mention that they'd run from 4:30am to 1:00am. Train frequencies should never be longer than 5 minutes at peak times, 20 minutes at off-peak.

2. There must be direct/non-stop bus service to the downtown transit center from every Park N' Ride in town, at frequencies of every 30 minutes during peak times, one hour for off-peak. The bus needs to run at least as early as 5:00 AM and as late as 8:00 PM.

Both of these are neccessary, neither is sufficient alone for this 300 million-dollar boondoggle to have any usefulness. But if they are both achieved... well. I might become a fan.

No comments: