Countdown to Cancellation of Airport Direct
Route 500 to Run its Last Trip August 20th
High costs and low ridership are the driving forces behind METRO’s decision to end its Airport Direct service.
The decision was made at a public hearing last month where the community was invited to share comments on the agency’s August service changes, which go in effect Aug. 21, 2011.
Airport Direct, also referred to as route 500, launched in Aug. 2008, offering patrons express service to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) every 30 minutes for $15 one-way.
In an effort to boost its numbers, METRO, with support from the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB), downtown hotels and the downtown district, adjusted the route to include additional stops at hotels and reduced the fare to $4.50 from $15.
Ridership did spike following the fare decrease, but did not reach a level where service could be sustained.
"Our concern for Airport Direct stemmed strictly from the costs of the service versus revenues we could realistically achieve, not its desirability or our personal wish that it succeed," said METRO President & CEO George Greanias.
Airport Direct will run its last trip Saturday, Aug. 20.
METRO does offer another option to Bush Airport that’s easy on the wallet - the 102 Bush IAH. However, patrons should note the service, just $1.25 one-way, is not an express route and therefore should account for a longer trip time.