Getting around Houston
The Metro (tel: +1 713 635 4000; www.ridemetro.org) operates an extensive bus service and a light rail system, Metrorail, with stops in Downtown, Midtown and the Museum District. There are fare boxes on the bus (correct change is required) but for trains pay at the ticket vending machines before boarding. Day passes are available.
For longer stays buy a Metro Q Card, a smartcard which is used like a debit card. You can also buy a disposable Metro Money Card, which is loaded with a set amount of money. You can get information from the RideStore at 1900 Main Street.
Taxis are plentiful. The Six in the City programme is a cheap way to travel in the downtown area, where a US$6 flat-rate fare applies (www.houstontx.gov/downtowncab). A tip of around 10% of the fare is usual.
Companies include Taxis Fiesta (tel: +1 713 225 2666) and Yellow Cab Company (tel: +1 713 236 1111).
Driving in the morning and evening rush hours should be avoided. The highways have Protected High Occupancy Vehicle lanes for buses and carpools. Parking is generally not a problem, with plenty of car parks right across the city. Many attractions or venues have free parking for visitors. Some on-street parking is available, although difficult to find in the downtown areas.
To hire a car, you must be in possession of a full national driving licence. The minimum age is generally 25 years, although some companies hire cars (at a higher rate) to drivers aged between 21 and 24 years. Avis (tel: +1 713 571 8572; www.avis.com), Budget (tel: +1 713 659 2513; www.budget.com) and Hertz (tel: +1 713 652 0436; www.hertz.com) all have offices in Houston.
Cycling is an ideal way to take advantage of the many cycle trails in Houston's parks. You can hire bikes from West End Bicycles, 5427 Blossom Street (tel: +1 713 861 2271; www.westendbikes.com), east of Memorial Park.
Houston B-cycle (tel: +1 713 865 3662; http://houston.bcycle.com) is the city's bikeshare scheme; 24-hour and seven-day passes are available.
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