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Getting Around Houston


SWharton

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We will be staying at Advanced RV in Pearland. In our last foray into Houston we tried taking the Sam Houston Tollway and so much of it is TXPASS(???) only that we ended up having to get off of it and taking secondary roads. There are no signs saying they will do license plate billing and from what several people have told us is TX is very slow where they do license plate billing to the extent that you are paying late charges by the time you get your bill.

 

This time we will be coming from the West. Looking at the map I am thinking of taking 99S to 6 to 288. I see they have a new interstate 69 that looks feasible for a little bit.

 

Any comments or suggestions would be welcome.

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If you're staying in Houston for any length of time, it's pretty easy to stop by a Harris County Toll Authority office to get one or more TX-passes for your vehicles. There's an HCTA office only five minutes from Pearland. We have them on all our vehicles. Sure, we always have a few dollars tied up as reserve in our account but for us the convenience is worth it. You don't have to be a TX resident to get one.

 

The HCTA pass is accepted throughout TX on any of the toll roads. We routinely ours it on the tollway that enables us to bypass Austin on our travels.

 

One suggestion: if you have a toad you might want to consider obtaining a "motorcycle pass" and mounting it with Velcro inside at the bottom of your windshield. The "normal" HCTA passes go on the windshield with adhesive and aren't removable. Even though I had been assured that the system wouldn't double bill me for my toad, it did about half the time. So the HCTA folks suggested I used the motorcycle pass and keep it in a foil wrapper when the toad is being towed. Basically the same solution as I use with the toad's EZPass transponder.

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We will be staying at Advanced RV in Pearland. In our last foray into Houston we tried taking the Sam Houston Tollway and so much of it is TXPASS(???) only that we ended up having to get off of it and taking secondary roads. There are no signs saying they will do license plate billing and from what several people have told us is TX is very slow where they do license plate billing to the extent that you are paying late charges by the time you get your bill.

 

This time we will be coming from the West. Looking at the map I am thinking of taking 99S to 6 to 288. I see they have a new interstate 69 that looks feasible for a little bit.

 

Any comments or suggestions would be welcome.

 

If you come in on I10 and take Beltway 8 around you'll only have two toll booths. You can pay cash or card and get off right at 288 and Advanced.

 

Your toll will be per axle, so it might be a bit higher, but considering the destination and it being Houston, it would still be worth doing.

 

As I recall 99 will drop you into Sugarland - from there it would be stoplight city all the way down 6 to 288.

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OK, here is where we stand. A few years ago when in TX(Dallas, Houston and East) we saw 3 different toll systems on roads, none listed any other toll pass as acceptable. It seems tht TX has finally combined all their systems into one, is that correct. We currently are from VA and it is illegal to have anything on your front windshield other than the EZpass(I think they just ignore that) and the inspection sticker, I know of people who have been stopped with additional tickers on their windshield. In VA I have pass for a pass for the MH+toad and just the toad. I take the toad one off when towing it.

 

When we lived in TX in the 90s the Pass system charge $1 a month for its use. Is that still true? I find the TXtag site a bit confusing. I don't mind have a couple of dollars tied up in the system but there is probably a minimum. It seems they want you to sign up without giving you any fees if appropriate.

 

My take right now is if I get a TXpass it will work on all toll roads in TX. If I get 2 motorcycle ones it will be removable from the MH and toad as it will be velcroed on so I will be legal in VA. Do I need a MH+Toad pass for when towing? Add the toad pass when in town to the toad?

 

I did not know 6 had a lot of lights. It appears on the map as a 4 lane highway which I assumed meant limited stops.

 

Am I on the right track?

 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone used EZPASS across the nation.....................

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OK, here is where we stand. A few years ago when in TX(Dallas, Houston and East) we saw 3 different toll systems on roads, none listed any other toll pass as acceptable. It seems tht TX has finally combined all their systems into one, is that correct. We currently are from VA and it is illegal to have anything on your front windshield other than the EZpass(I think they just ignore that) and the inspection sticker, I know of people who have been stopped with additional tickers on their windshield. In VA I have pass for a pass for the MH+toad and just the toad. I take the toad one off when towing it.

 

When we lived in TX in the 90s the Pass system charge $1 a month for its use. Is that still true? I find the TXtag site a bit confusing. I don't mind have a couple of dollars tied up in the system but there is probably a minimum. It seems they want you to sign up without giving you any fees if appropriate.

 

My take right now is if I get a TXpass it will work on all toll roads in TX.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone used EZPASS across the nation.....................

 

No, Texas has NOT consolidated its toll pass system but passes issued in one region are valid in the others. We don't have TXpass, we have EZ TAG issued by Harris County (not to be confused with EZPass). As stated on the HCTRA website, EZ Tag is valid on any toll road within TX https://www.hctra.org/Benefits_of_EZ_TAG

 

AFAIK there is no monthly fee to maintain the HCTRA account but you are charged $15 for each of the first 3 passes you buy.

 

We like the convenience provided by the toll passes so we have both EZ Tag and EZPass.

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OK, thanks for clarifying. None of that was clear on the TXpass website. When we get to Houston we will go to a TXpass center and talk to them so we don't make any mistakes in what we order.

 

 

 

No, no, no! When you're in Houston you can go to a EZ Tag office and get one.

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Ok EZtag is the one I buy in Houston but it is good on all TX toll roads. Right.

 

I think I got turned around when I typed in TXpass and got TXtag instead and didn't catch it.

 

This is as bad as their sales tax system when we were in TX. The sales tax changed in every town and every county, could never figure out what it was.

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Ok EZtag is the one I buy in Houston but it is good on all TX toll roads. Right.

 

 

 

Yes, you can buy it at HCTRA offices. It also appears that you can get a TxTag for free in the Austin area (instead of having to pay for an EZTag), but convenience is worth something. If you're in Houston for just a couple of days, going to an HCTRA office is easiest.

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Ok EZtag is the one I buy in Houston but it is good on all TX toll roads. Right.

 

I think I got turned around when I typed in TXpass and got TXtag instead and didn't catch it.

 

This is as bad as their sales tax system when we were in TX. The sales tax changed in every town and every county, could never figure out what it was.

 

If you think the Texas sales tax is bad, go to Colorado. A bunch of different rates based on what you buy.

 

In Texas it's 6%, plus up to 2.25% for what the locals add on.

 

I have an Eztag for the one month a year we go to Houston. There is no monthly charge. They will hit your credit card when the balance drops to a certain level.

 

Newt

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I just bust down the center in Houston, kinda like yanking off a bandage instead of pulling slowly, get it over with, it's no better taking the long way around.

 

We just went through Houston at 5pm today (in the car). We were coming from the east on I-10 and wanted to exit on US59 headed to Victoria. Google Navigation said it would be significantly faster to take the Sam Houston toll road which we did. It was nice to have the EZ Tag to make that decision an easy one.

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I just bust down the center in Houston, kinda like yanking off a bandage instead of pulling slowly, get it over with, it's no better taking the long way around.

 

Well, if they are coming in from the west and going to Advanced, taking Beltway 8 is the most direct route.

 

Driving across Houston in general...yeah, just grin and bear it while avoiding the busiest times if possible.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

A year ago we were in the Houston area for a couple of months. We were able to avoid the toll roads by staying on the outer roads. I think the only place that we couldn't use an outer road was a bit on I-10, but there the inner lanes were the toll road and the outer lanes were free. Of course that was all with just the Jeep. We were able to get the Foretravel in and out without ever having to go near a toll road. (Well, we did drive under one once.) That was the first time since 1972 that I have been back to Houston. I don't plan on going back for another 45 years.

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not to highjack the thread, but coming in for the LSU-BYU game in September, Pigskin Kickoff game. Where should we stay? HDT + 40' Teton. Will stay a few days before and after to enjoy.

 

Thanks,

Shannon

 

Enjoy Houston????? A definite oxymoron if I have ever heard one!!!!! LOLOL!!!

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  • 1 month later...

I have now tested out the Sam Houston Toll system without having a EZTAG. Works fine, reads the license plate easily. We did the entire southern loop. You can look up on their website(HCTRS.COM) your license plate(s) and pay the bill. The website says you can only do this once a year which doesn't make any sense but works for us. The website says your plate should take 72 hours to show up but ours too 10 days. Check every day. Other options are get a EZTAG or you can download an app onto your phone to use. The app seems the best. My biggest complaint is the apps want earnest money and I hate to see it just sitting there year after year.

 

I am not convinced the system caught the toad. Hard to tell.

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