Houston Transportation Struggles after Hurricane Harvey

Pop Culture, Weather

Unexpected Hurricane Harvey Damage

It’s been a week of clean up here in Houston since Hurricane Harvey destroyed the Texas coast, and there’s still plenty of cleaning to do. When you dump 2 years worth of rain on Houston in a single weekend, you end up with billions of dollars in damage. Out of that damage, vehicle damage runs an estimated $5Billion dollars! In a city like Houston, where everyone depends on their cars, and there is very little public transportation, this poses a huge problem.

Houston proper is a big city, home to about 2.3 million people, and when you add in the numerous small towns and suburbs that are attached, you end up with the fourth largest city in America. The Houston Metroplex covers over 10,000 square miles and is just slightly smaller than the state of  Massachusetts in terms of square miles. In that area, an estimated 500,000 vehicles were destroyed in the Harvey Flood waters.

It’s common knowledge, at least for those of us that live here in Houston, that your commute to and from work is usually between 25 and 30 miles each way. With little to no public transportation, cars are completely necessary to survive and make it to and from work.  The flood has left thousands without cars, and everyone is starting to feel the stress of not having a working car, and the struggle to find a working rental.

Some people have been lucky enough to borrow cars from friends or family or to find rental cars, but the lack of vehicles is getting worse. The lack of working cars means that there are fewer people going back to work and getting the city back in working order.

Luckily, Enterprise Holdings, which owns the Enterprise, National, and Alamo car rental brands, has met the issue head on. They’ve brought in thousands of rental cars already, with an estimated 17,000 more cars to enter the city by the end of September. The Avis Budget Group, Avis and Budget, is also moving in 10,000 cars, as well as waving late fees, one-way rental fees, and rental extension fees here in the Greater Houston area.

Houston may be designed to handle some flooding, but after the damage Harvey wrought, there has to be a way we can plan for future storms, and prevent the halting of everyday lives due to dependence on private vehicles. It could be as easy as working on public transportation.

 

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