GALVESTON — A way to travel from Galveston to Houston by bus could return if a local group’s proposal is accepted by the Texas Department of Transportation.

The Galveston County Transit District will ask the transportation department to fund an extension of an Island Transit bus route. The extension would send buses to the Bay Area Park and Ride in Houston, where riders could then board buses serving Houston’s METRO transit system.

Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or


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(19) comments

Eunice Henderson

We have needed public transportation for years. Development has outpaced the need to get the needed infrastructure in place to allow people to get used to using a metro type system. Austin has a wonderful bus system. Why can't we have a necessary and useful tool to help people go to work or at least look for jobs. Cost of owning a car plus all the people with unpaid tickets that can't renew license can't get to a job. Is everyone blind to these facts. We all win in the end. The taxpayers, the environment, Let move forward and quit dragging our feet.

Dwight Burns

Bus service and light rail service are a must if Galveston County and Harris County
are serious about solving our growing traffic problems and the need to reduce CO2
emissions. With an aging populace, it just make common sense to put in place a working transportation system which addresses these needs. I, for one, would like to shed my auto when having a need to travel to Galveston or Houston, leaving the driving to someone else and just enjoying the scenery. After all, trying to read an advertising sign traveling at 65 mph plus, is dangerous at best. Moving forward, a reliable transportation system linking Galveston and Houston, (again) , is a must.

Andy Aycoth

I agree with drumb47 100% , need the light rail eventually too. How wide can you make I-45 ?


Oh please you know that makes too much sense. Those in office would rather build 8 more lanes like the Katy with almost never used (except for very short times in the morning and afternoon) HOV lanes. T

Gary Miller


Not everyone wins.
Venders of fuel, repair and vehicals could be winners.
Employees of the system could be winners.
Riders who never pay the full cost of the trip might be called winners.
Taxpayers who never ride but pay for the system are never winners and they outnumber the venders, riders and employees combined.
A public transportation system that charges full cost to ride won't last long. Too many feel they are entitled to a free ride.
Too many feel paying for what they want is someone else's responcibility.

Ron Shelby

Its a start. I like it. But they need to run the routes fairly often to get a feeling for ridership. If its decent, then you can expand rail to replace bus, but that will only happen if you can try and mimick,...for a period, a rail schedule. If you do 1 to 2 trips a day to Houston, most will drive due to inconvenience. If you did it once an hour (loss leader) it would mimick rail but attract those you want for rail later (with better speed).

Jim Forsythe

IHOG you said
“Taxpayers who never ride but pay for the system are never winners and they outnumber the venders, riders and employees combined”.
Have you taken into account the cost of expanding the freeway? If we can reduce the number of vehicles on the road, maybe we will not have to build new one’s at the same pace. "How wide can you make I-45 ?"

This could save taxpayers big bucks

Carlos Ponce

Bigjim, I'd like to hear your estimate of how many riders this proposal will attract.
Granted there are a few who will take advantage but most will not give up the convenience of setting your own schedule, to-and-from front door delivery, being able to make side trips to run errands, not riding with STRANGErs, and not putting your life in someone else's hands. My conjecture: 1-45 will still widen at the same rate with or without this bus system. Funny that the article never mentions estimated ridership. Just another "Pie in the Sky" proposal.

Eunice Henderson

taxpayers who don't use it benefit by less cars on the road in those taxpayers way. How many extra minutes do you want to sit stuck in traffic or paying welfare benefits to people without transportation to find a job. We all benefit from good transportation. The elderly who don't drive any longer or are terrified of the freeway. Or should they just stay home?

Jim Forsythe

If we continue down the same path, we will get the same results. It must reflect the times that riders would want to ride. Some people would ride so they could get work done on the way to their destination. Others would ride to be able to get rid of a car and save themselves money. Some people would use it to go to the medical complex. I would use it to go to see my son if they would take me to other side of Houston. This would work for me when they extend the rail system to the big airport, where he could pick me up. I would also use it to go to the shopping area on the west side. As I’m getting older I do not like driving in the traffic in Houston.
Because of all the new people that are projected to relocate to the Houston area, mass transit will become more important and the road system will not be able to keep up. As the freeways come to almost a complete stop in near future , people will migrate to mass transit.
Just last year the state was wanting to give cities any the roads that went thru them. If this happens road construction will slow down more as cities will have to pay for the roads..I believe the state postponed some road projects last year because of lack of funds
We could both do guess the number exercise and you would tell me no way on any number I would come up with. We both could come up with a number and we both would be wrong.
We must have a vision of what the future will be or we will still remain in the past.

Carlos Ponce

I'd still like to hear your estimates of how many people will use the system. Agreed that it will be attractive to a FEW people. But will the huge cost justify the convenience of a few? Do you really think a fixed rail system will deliver you to your destination? There will always be a need for automobiles either privately owned or as a taxi service to get you to you there. Otherwise get ready to hoof it. At 59 I'm ready to walk two Mardi Gras Parades Saturday: Aquarius at noon and Gambrinus at 6pm - two nice walks. And your son should visit you if you are getting on in years. I saddened when I read that part of your post. The song "Cat's in the Cradle" kept going through my head.
I've long since retired, my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind"
He said, "I'd love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job's a hassle and kids have the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, Dad
It's been sure nice talking to you"
God Bless you Bigjim.

Jim Forsythe

Do you really think a fixed rail system will deliver you to your destination?”
"This would work for me when they extend the rail system to the big airport, where he could pick me up” He lives next to airport, so picking me up would be no problem and I would pick him up when he comes this way.
“Otherwise get ready to hoof it.” Not suggesting that work doesn’t need to to be done on getting people from the drop off points. Moving people will be a challenge no matter what way we go. If we continue down the path we are on and not have some form of mass traffic, it will be hard for the state to keep up with the need for more roads. We can’t wait until traffic comes to a complete stand still.
“And your son should visit you if you are getting on in years”. Didn’t mean to make it sound like I don’t visit him. I just don‘t like the traffic getting to Kingwood‘.
“As I’m getting older I do not like driving in the traffic in Houston.” Didn’t mean to make you think I’m over the hill, we are almost the same age (I‘m 60). As traffic increases, I like less and less driving in Houston. Maybe it’s because of traffic and not age , but I do not like to drive in the in the traffic. I use to like to drive ,but now I do not in joy driving in the bumper to bumper traffic going 10-20 mph.
“Just last year the state was wanting to give cities any the roads that went thru them.” If this ever passes, road construction will not keep up with the increase in need.“I believe the state postponed some road projects last year because of lack of funds”. Lack of being able to pay for roads is very possible. If this happens traffic will increase.This may require more toll roads.
“There will always be a need for automobiles either privately owned or as a taxi service to get you to you there” The need will not disappear but how we use them will need to change. If we continue to have one person per car commuting to work, roads will not be able to keep up. You can pretend that traffic is not getting worse, but does it take you longer to get thru Houston then 10 years ago? Look down the road 20 years from now do you see it getting better?
“District 3 Councilwoman Elizabeth Beeton said that a direct connection to Houston was a critical need for the island. “It’s such an important service,” Beeton said. “We’ve got a lot of people with no way to get to Houston.” She said that it was critical need and not a “pie in the sky” need.
We must look down the road and not just think of traffic needs today!

Carlos Ponce

Bigjim, Numbers, I still want numbers. Am I asking for too much?
"[A] lot" can mean anything from 10 to a million. Considering the total population of Galveston, I don't think it will be that high.
By the way, say HI! to your son and his family for me. Send them my best. As for driving through Houston, patience my good man. Find a good radio station or listen to a CD, satellite or MP3. Better yet, plan ahead. I go through Houston with no problem. Then again, I don't go travel at peak traffic hours.

Jim Forsythe

“the annual cost of extending the bus route would be $120,000. After factoring in the revenue from fares, the city of Galveston and other stakeholders would be on the hook for about $40,000 of the cost of operating the expanded route.” So it seams they have numbers of projected riders.
If you want numbers here goes.
The busses would run 5 days a week for a total of 260 days a year. Divide that into the $40,000 cost of expanded route, equals about $153 a day. When they let people off at park in ride they would pick up people to come to Galveston. Summer time this could be a big benefit for Galveston.
But if all you want to look at is people going to Houston, I would think start out maybe 4 buses in morning and same number in evening. To start with I would think at least 30 people each trip. This would equal 120 people at about a dollar a person, Round trip .This also would not include the people coming to Galveston for work.
In the summer time I could see busses full of people coming to Galveston so the people could enjoy Galveston for the day.. Busses would run seven days a week with trips running all day. What a benefit for some of the big events in Galveston .
The next step would be to use say the dog track as a park and ride and tie this into the route. This could serve the Texas city La Marque, Hitchcock Santa fe area A park and ride then could be set up say Dickinson, serving that area. Expand this up the freeway and it will make a difference.
On a side note Texas Department of Transportation is looking into a tunnel system under I-45 in Houston. Just one of the projects they are looking at.. .

Carlos Ponce

Thank you, That's what I wanted. Right now those who can not or choose not no drive to Houston are taken care of by the private sector: friends, family and area churches provide trips for those who need to go to the medical center, visit family, tour museums etc. I think that is cheaper.

Jim Forsythe

Mass transit is not about finding someone else to drive you . It’s about removing car’s from the roads. If we continue to find other ways to add cars ,we will slow to a craw.
“Houston added 34,625 residents between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012, bringing the city’s population to 2.16 million.” This is just the Houston gain and not the rest of the area. How are we going to add more and more cars to the freeways that are already full.
Your solution was not to go to Houston durning peak traffic time. How does someone do this if they work durning this time.

Carlos Ponce

"How does someone do this if they work durning this time." It takes planning. In the future, some office jobs can be done at home via computer. Think "conference calls " instead of office meetings. Think of education computer centers so a child does not have to get on that big yellow school bus. Think technology where your vitals are monitored by a physician via computer while you and doc sit in your respective homes. Think of Wal-greens, CVS, Fed-Ex, UPS, etc delivering your prescriptions, food, etc via drone like is planning. Already you can visit your son on Big Screen TV ala the Jetsons through Skype.
Yes occasionally you will desire human contact but not daily. In case of emergency paramedics , firemen, police will still be sent out. Brave New World we are living in this 21st Century. I-45 was historically planned as a way of transporting armies and as landing strips for airplanes. One day they (Interstate Highways)will be our Pyramids- remnants of days gone by. Already your grandchildren contact each other via text rather than touch. Is this good? Only time will tell.

Jim Forsythe

Reply to :carlosrponce posted at 3:58 pm on Fri, Feb 21, 2014.
Already some of this has come true and we still add traffic. Remember when they said that computers will eliminate paper, how that working out. Your points may come true and traffic will be a thing of the past. But what if it doesn’t work out, we must be ready and one of the components is mass transit ..
Transporting of goods will still require trucks on the freeways. . One of the things that the ship channel cargo area said in and interview on t.v., is .that the thing that could stop growth for them is traffic in this area .This could become a problem with Galveston docks as well.
As far as landing strips for war time.
“At no point was the idea kited of using highways or other roads to land planes on; the proposed landing strips would have been built alongside major highways, with the highways serving to handle ground transportation access to and from these strips“.
This is from
Richard Weingroff, information liaison specialist for the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Infrastructure

Carlos Ponce

89 million Japanese are currently using paperless toilets. Computers have reduced paperwork in schools and business.
Maybe not for landing strips but definitely for military use. General Eisenhower got the idea of using highways for military transport from the German autobahns.Eisenhower gained an appreciation of the Reichsautobahn system, the first "national" implementation of modern Germany's Autobahn network as a necessary component of a national defense system while he was serving as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II.He recognized that the proposed system would also provide key ground transport routes for military supplies and troop deployments in case of an emergency or foreign invasion.
Note: I have seen the Galveston County Sheriff's Department and local police block off local state highways for use as a landing pad for Life-Flite.

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