George H. Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is North America’s 12th busiest passenger airport, 8th busiest handling international passenger travel and among the top U.S. Airports for on-time performance. Mexico City and Cancun are its busiest international routes, while Los Angeles and Chicago are its busiest domestic routes. IAH’s five passenger terminals are laid out in linear fashion for ease of navigation, but distance its two furthest terminals is 1.5 miles. Terminal Link is a two-line Automated People Mover system between terminals. One Terminal Link transports between terminals before security screening. Another Terminal Link transports between terminals without having to re-pass through security. The latter comes in handy when changing airlines on international flights. Each terminal includes WI-FI, restaurants, cafes, coffeehouses, specialty and gift shops, visitor information centers, currency exchange booth, multi-lingual service reps and ADA access. See IAH AIRPORT TERMINAL MAP
Car Rentals: Take the Rental Car Shuttle for Avis, Hertz, National and Thrifty car renters who are on or near both airports. JFK Blvd leads you to Airport Tollway for the quickest route to Downtown. Otherwise, take Route 59 to Beltway 8, then change to I-45 Freeway to downtown Houston. Super Shuttles: (800-258-3826) has a large presence at IAH. Courtesy vans for nearby hotels also frequent the airport. Taxis: Houston has the third-largest taxi fleet in the country and four patrons can ride for the price of one. IAH Airport is 20 miles to Downtown, so expect to pay $50 or more for that route. Service is provided by Fiesta Cab (713-236-9400), Liberty Cab (713-695-6700), United Cab (713-699-0000) and Yellow Cab (713-236-1111). On return, catch a taxi at Downtown, Galleria/Post Oak, Texas Medical Center and Greenway Plaza hotels.
William Hobby Airport (HOU) was Houston’s first airport, but now the region’s secondary airport. It has been modernized and receives many regional and national flights. HOU Airport is a better option for points southeast of Downtown, such as NASA Space Center, Clear Lake and Galveston. Car Rental service is provided by Avis, Hertz, National and Thrifty car renters who are on or near both airports. If you don’t know local streets well, strictly follow signage to I-45 Freeway when leaving HOU Airport. Shuttle service is provided by Super Shuttle (800-258-3826) and there are a large number of Taxi/Uber/Lyft rides available as well.
Amtrak station is located at 902 Washington Avenue in downtown Houston. Unfortunately, there is no Houston-Dallas train service and this small utilitarian station serves only one Amtrak route 3 times per week:
Sunset Limited: Los Angeles-Phoenix-San Antonio-Houston-New Orleans-Mobile-Jacksonville
Houston-Dallas-Oklahoma City is listed as a future High Speed Rail service by the U.S. Department of Transportation. See this important article about Interstate High Speed Rail.
Houston METRORail opened its first light rail line in 2004 on Main Street in the Downtown-Midtown-Museum District-Texas Medical Center-NRG Stadium-Fannin South corridor. Main Street Line patronage success sparked voter approval of METRORail expansion northward and renaming to be the Red Line. Two more lines were also approved to intersect with Red Line at Central Station Main, then service corridors that include the Theater District, Minute Maid Park, Convention Center, Third Ward, Texas Southern University, and University of Houston. Those METRORail expansions opened in 2015-16. Houston connects METRORail with rapid buses at large stations called Transit Centers (TC). Keep in mind however, that rapid buses are only limited stop buses in shared lanes that do not average speeds as high as Bus Rapid Transit. Today, METRORail is a 3-line, 20-mile, 44-station light rail system; see METRORail SYSTEM MAP.
Red Line: Northland TC-Downtown-Museum District-Texas Medical Center-Fannin South
Purple Line: Theater District-Downtown-Texas Southern U.-U. of Houston-Palm TC
Green Line: Theater District-Downtown-EaDo/Stadium-Magnolia Park TC
Red Line runs at 6-minute frequency from 3:30am-7:47pm, then service drops to 12-minute frequency from 7:47pm-9pm and 18-minute frequency from 9pm-11:30pm. Night Owl service on Friday and Saturday extends to 2:45am. Green and Purple lines run at 12-minute frequency from 4:45am-9:45pm and 18-minute frequency from 9:45pm-1:39am. Their Friday and Saturday Night Owl service extends to 3:04am.
Tickets can be purchased via your smartphone or at a station ticket dispenser. Single Fare is $1.25 and Day Pass for all METRORail and METRO buses is $3. Single Fare also provides free transfers between all light rail lines and buses for up to three hours. METRO police perform random fare inspections aboard trains to verify that passengers have paid the proper fare. If unable to show proof of purchase, passengers can be fined up to $500.
Since all the freeways are more congested after expansion projects, METRO officials planned two additional light rail expansions for more transportation alternatives:
Due to funding shortfall, the 10-mile Blue Line is deferred and Gold Line will be built as a 4-mile Bus Rapid Transit route to open in 2018-19. Initially, Gold Line with not connect to METRORail, but its dedicated lanes will be relatively easy to convert to light rail in the future. When Blue Line is eventually built, it will have transfers to Red Line at Wheeler Transit Center and Purple Line at Robertson Stadium/U. of Houston Station and Gold Line at Bellaire Station.
Fully recovered from Hurricane Ike in 2008, Galveston has a small, but important cruiseport in America. You can take 4, 5 and 7-day cruises through the Gulf of Mexico to Caribbean ports in Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Honduras, Costa Maya and Cozumel. Cruises depart and return in the mornings.
For safety and passenger convenience, proceed directly to The Texas Cruise Ship Terminals 1 and Terminal 2 to drop off passengers and baggage. See Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 at 2502 Harborside Drive on this CRUISEPORT MAP
Porters will assist you with your baggage and Police Officers will direct the driver to the appropriate parking lot. Official Port of Galveston Parking Lots are patrolled 24/365 by the Port of Galveston Police Department. Cash, Travelers Checks and Credit Cards (Visa and MasterCard) are accepted at Port of Galveston Official Parking Lots. Limited covered parking is available on a First Come, First Served basis for an additional price for 7-Day Cruises only. Covered parking can not be secured through pre-payment. Royal Caribbean and Carnival operate at Galveston Cruiseport.
Carnival Cruise Lines
SHIPS: Conquest and Ecstasy
SHORE OPERATIONS: 409-763-8800
Royal Caribbean International
SHIPS: Voyager of the Seas
SHORE OPERATIONS: 843-514-7909
There is peak demand for Taxis/Uber during debarkation hours. Due to peak demand, you should try to debark from the cruise ship early or prepare to wait as other taxis/Ubers return to the Cruise Terminals throughout the debarkation morning rush. There is also a convenient car rental state by Hertz.
Hertz Car Rental
PHONE: 409-741-3595 or 800-654-3131
ADDRESS: Terminal 1, Galveston
Freeways & Tollways
Houston Freeway & Tollway Network is one of America’s largest in terms of mileage and lanes per mile. Like Los Angeles, it has large complex freeway interchanges, carpool lanes, sound walls, metered entrances and freeway status signs that enable it to carry more autos per hour. I-10 Freeway has an incredible 23 lanes, the most for any freeway in the world. Nevertheless, Houston freeways are congested 4-5 hours each weekday morning and another 4-5 hours each weekday evening. Residents usually refer to the freeways and tollways by number.