HOUSTON - With gas prices so high, one way to save big is to take public transit. If you haven't used Houston's METRO system, we went to the experts, METRO, and experienced riders, for advice to make it easy.
The American Public Transportation Association says taking public transit can save a household $10,000 a year.
"It’s very good because it’s cost-effective," one experience rider told us.
Metro offers buses, METRO Rail, Park and Ride, MetroStar VanPools, and METROLift. Start by planning your route through the METRO website or app.
"They can plan their trip, put in their start location and their destination, and they’ll get step-by-step instructions on what service is best," explained Tracy Jackson with METRO.
"They have the time coming up, so whenever I want to ride the bus, I just get here 15 minutes ahead, so I won’t miss the bus," one rider suggested.
"You’ve got to keep on time," suggests regular rider Freddie Conner.
METRO is not quite back to full routes yet since the pandemic slowdown, so check to see how close it can take you to your destination.
"Most of the bus routes are right there where I need to be," said frequent rider Philip LaFleur.
You can also sign up for text alerts for the next arrival time, so you don't have to wait outside.
Bus fares are $1.25. Park and Ride costs vary by location. You can pay cash, through the app on your phone, load money onto a Metro Q Fare card, or use a kiosk.
Newcomers, DJ and his daughter, needed a little help using the METRO Rail kiosk the first time, but an attendant was there to help.
"It took me a while. I had to get assistance from METRO people," said DJ.
There are discounts for students, veterans, and seniors.
"For senior citizens, METRO has this card here. They have other passes too, all-day passes," said LaFleur, showing us his passes.
Regular riders, like LaFleur, say take a little time to plan your route and then learn the system.
"You’re not going to do it in one day. It takes a period of time. Once you learn your routes, you have different transit centers, different bus numbers that go to different areas. Once you learn that, it’s pretty easy," said LaFleur.
By the way, if you're looking for a job, METRO is hiring and offering a $4,000 hiring bonus for bus drivers and an $8,000 bonus for mechanics.