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Tripping with Mr. Solomon
Friday, March 27, 2009 3:12 PM  

Meet Mr. Solomon. He likes to travel - and he does it with style. "Elvis" goes tripping

One day, he's jetting to Miami, another day to Georgia. Find out why - and discover METRO's new Airport Direct service.

To spread the word about our direct service from downtown to Terminal C at IAH, we created a commercial, producing it in-house, using METRO employees as actors.

We went for the YouTube effect - sort of funky with a homemade quality. YouTube is one of the most popular Web portals in the world where people can post and view thousands of videos.   Watch it and tell us what you think. And the next time you fly out of Bush International Airport, consider using Airport Direct. It leaves every 30 minutes, gets you to Terminal C in 30 minutes - and costs $15. YouTube logo

Posted by Mary Sit
Filed under: ,


wi11ie said:


I am speechless......


# March 27, 2009 5:28 PM

C said:

How much money is METRO wasting on that corner property for the Airport Direct service?

This video is boring... shot by a bunch of amateurs with a professional camera they cant use. They could have at least did better head shots to make it interesting instead of the same left body side shot for Mr. Solomon and the metro employee

# March 27, 2009 7:38 PM

Don Gallagher said:

I must say that I watched that video and it had to be THE WORST attempt at advertising that I have seen in years!

"C" is 110% correct!.  It was amateurish and had absolutely NO link to bus service other than the silly text message at the end.

What I see is a govermental agency gone amuck.

I heard on the radio today a comment on governmental agencies.  The host asked, "Can you name me ONE agency you would trut to do work on your house for a fair price and correctly?"

I just watched it again.  Is that the Metro bus location he is entering?  It looks like a portable bldg and why are the females wearing wings like airlines do?

Wishing I was a UTube member to vote on that one!

# March 27, 2009 9:23 PM

JamesL said:

I have a feeling y'all would be far more upset if they had hired an expensive ad agency.

# March 28, 2009 12:07 AM

C said:

If METRO would put the same type of enthusiasm behind every route I don't think anyone would have a reason to complain about the video. I don't see a video being made for every other route METRO unveils. A simple pamphlet, web-link or route map seems to do fine getting the word around for other routes... WHY? Because people who need the service know where to go.

Many area riders know about MAD and I know those airport employees who transfer to/from downtown to the 102 would appreciate the route if it were a bit cheaper to ride.

But like I said when they released it... METRO responded to a bunch of out of towners who cried about having to travel to/from downtown with airport employees. Why is METRO catering to the needs of people who live outside of Houston?

And local travelers going to IAH still ride the 102 line because they're not paying $15. Even the foreigners ride 102 downtown instead of MAD.

Money has been spent on advertising this service that no one is really using. WHYYYY??? Because the people who complained DON'T even live in Houston! "Local" tax payers are being ripped off.

Any other route with such low ridership would have been on the chopping board by now.

And how many employees does METRO pay to do nothing 95% of the time??? Lets see... In one hour of MAD service

-You have the 2 bus operators

-You have the 2 employees downtown at the terminal

-The 1 guy at the airport who sits and does nothing

Thats 3 employees (maybe more) doing NOTHING! And 2 operators driving empty buses.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but thats what I see.

# March 28, 2009 3:32 AM

Don Gallagher said:

JamesL said:  

"I have a feeling y'all would be far more upset if they had hired an expensive ad agency."

Incorrect James, at least from this writer.

I am against tax payer money being wasted on projects that make no sense.  I am however, for the necessary need for public transit for those who otherwise cannot get around and feel strongly that the number one goal should be that and with more service routes and less fluff and the movement to being a giant money spending service

I watched the film one more time and finally, after looking at another film posted by MetroMatters, I decided to see if there were any other films.

I found another on the shuttle and now see that the temp builind is indeed the bus terminal.  

MetroMatters is Mary.  It should "matter" to her as they pay her salary.  LOL, JK.

The only comment posted to the video was Mary's and the post would obviously be biased towards her company ("Loved it!").  

In another video, the head of that project tells folks how you can take the Main St rail to get to the terminal and how someone there will handle your bags?

The terminal is at Pierce and Travis.  So, on a rainy day, or a hot summer day, a person down at the Med Center would leave their hotel, haul their bags out and onto the platform, board a trolley (having to first pay for a ticket), then disembark and walk the one block to the terminal and buy a ticket and wait for the next shuttle.

How long does this travel take?  Worst case, 6 mins to get a trolley and 30 minutes to get the next bus along with two walks (WITH BAGS!) or perhaps another 15-20 minutes counting the trip?

This is great for someone who has time on their hands and maybe wants to save on costs.  But, as "C" said, people who want to save will ride the 102.

The taxi's are private enterprise.  They work well and it's door-to-door travel without any other passengers to deal with.

Can Mary tell us exact how many people have used this service on an average bus trip usage?  Please provide us with the average number of passengers per bus trip.  Thanks in advance.

# March 28, 2009 7:30 AM

don said:

I rode the SEPTA train yesterday from downtown Philadelphia (30th St. station) to the airport for $1.00, senior rate. Regular fare is $6.00. The ride was smooth and quiet and took about 20 minutes. As far as the video it really didn't make any sense to me.

# March 28, 2009 11:41 AM

C said:

Well METRO has its experts...

Here's my video from the Fresh Air Friday. I did a walk through of the bus and ended my day on the rail.

# March 28, 2009 12:13 PM

Cedric Collins said:

Here's pics I took of the very same bus C must did the walk through on:

The newest pics are first.  There's 18 total.  Enjoy.

# March 28, 2009 2:15 PM

Robert said:

That was really, really bad.

I won't echo C's statements, but why does Metro keep pushing this thing? It's price shows that it is intended for an audience that would rather take a cab, but is not quite good enough -- who is going to pay $15 bucks for a shuttle to some temporary building and then transfer to local service to their final downtown destination? No business traveler I know.

# March 28, 2009 5:45 PM

DominicMazoch said:

Actually, I did see a CO Pilot get off the MAD and was rolling his bags to the LRT on Thursday.

BTW, to me the HQ and DTC are 180 degrees off.  I would have the TC next to the tram......Then again, they don't ask the passengers....

# March 28, 2009 10:09 PM

C said:

Does METRO own that parking lot across the street where the employees park?

If they do they should have built the transit center there and built a multi-level parking garage for the Main building where the current transit center is.


And I have 2 BIG complaints. Now I rarely complain about drivers but I decided to "Go Greeen" this weekend well... First off I don't care for the weekend drivers on the 102 and I havent boarded a weekend day since August (after I was stranded downtown).

The driver I had on the SB 102 that departed Greenspoint Mall at 6:41 pm was fighting to stay awake. He *** near ran 2 vehicles off the road on 45 because he was rubbing his eyes. Guy was crossing the white lines with cars in the other lane on the side of the bus. Then he kept taking his sunglasses on & off, he was yawning and stretching. And I was in the front of the bus, I could only imagine what the passengers in the rear felt like. Just a horrible, scary trip...

Then the ride home wasn't any better. The NB 102 that departed at 8:08 from LaBranch & Gray... The woman driving was swinging the bus right and left downtown (before the Travis & Dallas stop). She opened the window and was yelling mess at another driver who she claimed cut her off. Then as she was entering the interstate she almost rear ended a black 2-door making a right turn to UHD.

She gets on the interstate following vehicles too closely and abusing the brakes. She exited the interstate without slowing down. Then she failed to slow down enough at the right turn onto Northpoint Dr. and jumped the curb. Then when she came to my stop she totally missed the paved sidewalk and opened the door into the grass, but boy I was ready to get off.

I'll be calling METRO 1st thing Monday morning. No more weekend excursions for me on METRO.

# March 28, 2009 10:55 PM

DominicMazoch said:


All the weekend ops are New Transit, and all come out of NW BOF.

# March 29, 2009 1:47 PM

DominicMazoch said:


Except the LRT, of course!

# March 29, 2009 1:47 PM

JamesL said:

You mean First Transit?

And I think Airport Direct uses METRO drivers. Those buses are from Polk.

# March 29, 2009 2:01 PM

J. Liggins said:

Actually, on weekends, Polk runs the 102.  Nearly everything else downtown is done by First Transit.

# March 29, 2009 2:07 PM

wi11ie said:

Pretty amazing eh?

Amazing in that the operators on the weekend are Contractors that have a much more lenient policy regarding safety and cell phone usage behind the wheel?

Or is it the caliber of operators from our "sister" agency have been forced on the riders by Govt. regulation?

Aren't you glad that the medical industry is not bound by the same rules that METRO is? Just imagine a trip to the Doc and finding he/she is off and one of these yo-yos is your doctor for the day.

Good luck...


# March 29, 2009 2:49 PM

C said:

Today I saw a trashcan on Milam with a MAD ad on top of it. lol, thought I had seen enough MAD ads.

And thanks for the info, I'll just stay off of the weekend routes and stick to my weekday 102, 202/4 routes. I'll be wasting precious time complaining so I wont be calling. I would love not driving all the way downtown on the weekends but I have no choice.

METRO may want to look into how hard those operators are driving those buses. Just because someone has a CDL doesn't mean they should be driving a bus. Who rode with these people during training? Raise the pay and Ill be glad to get back behind the wheel.

# March 29, 2009 6:42 PM

wi11ie said:


Which operators are you referring to?

Weekend operators or operators in general?

METROs operators are trained by some of the sharpest trainers in the U.S.

At METRO the training dept is led by several excellent past operators. Recognized for their safety and experience and ability to remain cool/calm in training.

If you are NOT ready to be on your own you won't be.

Many are hired and some do not make it through.

These fine folks make that decision and they are seldom (if ever) wrong.

Just like you when you got your drivers license you were very careful. As time went on you were much more aware of your vehicle and went a bunch faster, took what looked like crazy risks that appeared dangerous but weren't.

Our main problem as operators is not our driving but knuckleheads that can not drive that have licenses and are on the road!


# March 29, 2009 10:14 PM

C said:

Just those 2 I guess.

METRO and First Transit both have great drivers. Just Saturday I seemed to get the bad ones.

# March 30, 2009 9:50 AM

J. Liggins said:

Metro needs to start training it's drivers that safety and punctuality go hand in hand and you don't need to sacrifice one for the other.

# March 30, 2009 12:08 PM

wi11ie said:

"Metro needs to start training it's drivers that safety and punctuality go hand in hand and you don't need to sacrifice one for the other."

Safety is always stressed first.

Sounds like a scheduling problem to me.. As some routes are slow and safe and some are run along with regular traffic which is uncontrollable with un-realistic time points.

You know that from past job experience J.Liggins!

# March 30, 2009 5:38 PM

Cedric Collins said:


       F.Y.I.; the only garages that operate routes on the weekends are Polk, West, and Northwest (First Transit).

Question:  Who operates those LRTs anyway?

# March 31, 2009 8:18 AM

Cedric Collins said:

Just checked out the YouTube ad.  SUCKS!  Y'all could of done better than this.  SHEESH!

# March 31, 2009 8:21 AM

JamesL said:

Cedric, they're METRO employees based at Fannin South.

# March 31, 2009 8:45 AM

J. Liggins said:

Even Cedric hates the ad Mary, back to the drawing board.

# March 31, 2009 10:17 AM

Cedric Collins said:


      OK then.

J. Liggins,

          Yes---I hate the ad but not as much as others would have.

NOTE:  How about using ordinary people that slip through the critic's cracks who actually use the service?  That would have been better than using METRO employees as actors.  Just a thought.

# March 31, 2009 11:02 AM

Casual Observer said:

The majority of you guys griping and giving your all-so-important opinions would find something tear apart no matter what Metro does. It's in your nature to find the negative.

Also, the previous poster was right. Had they gone out and paid someone to make it look like "Hollywood," then the topic would be Metro wasting money. IT's just a no-win situation with some of you.

Stuff like this sometimes just makes the blog so unreadable.

# March 31, 2009 3:08 PM

J. Liggins said:

CO, I really doubt Metro is paying you to post on the internet.  Get to work!

# March 31, 2009 3:50 PM

Don Gallagher said:

J. Liggins said:  

"CO, I really doubt Metro is paying you to post on the internet.  Get to work!"

LOL Liggins.  I also wondered when "Casual Observer " first posted.

This blog is a failure simply for the fact that they allow alias that cannot be substansiated as to the person's identity.

If one clicks on 99.9% of the poster names, they will find nothing at all on the person.

Click on my my handle (Don G) and it will take you to my YahooGroup MET-Houston.  My bio is correct and lists my name and interests.

Nothing to hide.

# March 31, 2009 4:11 PM

Cedric Collins said:

Here we go with this ID of the posters BS again!  Look---Don G---why must you want to know everybody's real name, bio, etc. for?  All you need to know is one's real name (or handle) and that's it.  Unless you're a law enforcement official, you ain't getting nothing out of me---period.

There's NO rule saying that we should post our lives on here I think it should stay that way.

# March 31, 2009 4:20 PM

J. Liggins said:

I have an excellent idea for a new blog topic: 100 things Metro could have done instead of funding the MAD and it's numerous ads and promotions.

# March 31, 2009 5:51 PM

C said:

yeah, if you're going to waste, waste with style.

100 - Place a shoe buffer at every bus stop.

# March 31, 2009 6:17 PM

DominicMazoch said:

How about an ad having Cedric and I riding the thing?  I have used it, once!  Just add some money to my Q, of course!

# March 31, 2009 9:01 PM

Robert said:

99 -- golf bag holder

# March 31, 2009 9:31 PM

J. Liggins said:

98 - Heated bus stops with lounger and massage parlor.

# March 31, 2009 11:36 PM

Cedric Collins said:

DominicMazoch said:  "How about an ad having Cedric and I riding the thing?  I have used it, once!  Just add some money to my Q, of course!"

I agree with this post!

# April 1, 2009 6:26 PM

Mary Sit said:

Don G,

METRO launched Airport Direct on Aug. 27, 2008. In March, our seventh month of service, we had an average weekday ridership of 98 passengers per day. That was 22 percent higher than what we had projected.  

"Since October, there's been steady growth based on our original projected weekday ridership that varies from 1 to 37 percent growth, month over month," said Ninfa Muench, manager of contracted services.

"We're looking constantly for ways to improve services to the individuals using it. The concierge service strives to assist passengers," added Muench.

# April 3, 2009 11:51 AM

C said:

So if one were to believe what METRO pays Mary Sit to copy & paste...

98 passengers / 7 days = about 14 passengers per day...Which is $210 / day in fare. It cost more to fuel a bus, not to mention all the employees that work in the MAD hut, the drivers and the concierge at the airport.

Mind you there are 30 Downtown Departures and 30 Term C Departures... That's 60 trips total... 420 trips per week. Only 98 passengers are making use of the service??? And METRO was only projecting about 59 passengers per week in the first place based on the what they're saying.

So why would METRO project that only 59 people would make use of a route? There's 420 trips minus 59 = 361 empty trips on a 55 passenger MCI. This is what METRO projected.

When percentages are thrown on paper it does look good but most people could careless anyways.

Now if METRO would lower the fare to a Zone 2 or 3 service they could transport the airport employees who would appreciate a non-stop trip from downtown to the airport without zig-zaggin for an hour on the 102.

# April 3, 2009 12:46 PM

C said:

Sorry, 22% from 98 is 21 so METRO projected 21 passengers per week, not 59.

# April 3, 2009 12:58 PM

C said:

76.44 people is what they projected... got it lol, Either way its a waste

# April 3, 2009 1:00 PM

J. Liggins said:

Actually, it's 98 passengers per day, on average.  Either way, it's a waste.  You're doing 60 trips per day and when you factor in the 98 passenger you're averaging a little over 1 and 1/2 rider per trip.  The sad things is that BEAT your expectations.

You're using a 55 passenger bus to transport 1 to 2 people per trip, on a good day.  How is this not a huge waste?

I'd like to see the subsidy numbers for this route.

# April 3, 2009 1:15 PM

DominicMazoch said:

I think the MAD, in concept is good.  But I think they could have started with a smaller unit, say a hybrid van, then build the numbers up.

And/or deduce the fare, and add a stop, say near the hotels near GRB.  Those types are the ones who need airport transportation.  Add workers to and from IAH...

Or, have the 500 stop, then retun as a 102, or reverse.  102 riders near IAH would have a quicker tip to town on the reverse than straight on the 102.

or just run the 102 to Greenspoint then dirct to IAH.  The local section of the 102 couls be done by the sort termed 55, which could be extended to Humble and Kingwood.

# April 4, 2009 8:43 AM

Cedric Collins said:

Unfortunately, Dominic is right---there can be a small hybrid van (which sort of looks like METROLift). =>This may give you---Dominic among others---some idea of who may give us a hybrid mini bus---unless the folks at GM/Allison can do something like this.

This will be better than using those hybrid MCIs.  Put those on the P&R routes.

# April 7, 2009 8:50 AM

DominicMazoch said:

That sort of unit also could be used on the 39, 64, 83, Med Center, et. al routes.

# April 8, 2009 8:41 PM

J. Liggins said:

Metro tried Goshen Microbuses in the early 90s on the 26/27 route of all places.  They failed miserably and were removed as quickly as they arrived.

# April 8, 2009 11:24 PM

mizz_porkie said:

Hey Liggins thought that was you!!!!

# April 10, 2009 4:49 PM

DominicMazoch said:


I did remember an extreemely small bus on the 26/7 in that time frame.  Was in CRP at the time, and only rode them once, on vacation.  Odd layout.  But something that size would be good on the 39, 64, 500.....

# April 12, 2009 10:21 PM
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