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Courtesy of RedCoach

A luxury bus service has added San Antonio to its Texas map.

Starting April 28, San Antonio will become the eighth Texas city served by RedCoach. The San Antonio stop is at 165 Bowie St., near the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter. San Antonio riders will be able to travel to five Texas locations: Austin, Dallas, Houston, Richardson, and Waco. Fares are priced as low as $15 each way.

“We understand that the travel industry is causing stress for residents with increased gas, airline, and car rental prices, so RedCoach is thrilled to add a San Antonio stop to our Texas routes. We have now completed the ‘Texas Triangle’ and are serving the state’s five largest cities,” Florencia Cirigliano, vice president of marketing and sales at RedCoach, says in a news release.

RedCoach will serve San Antonio with 26-seat luxury buses featuring amenities such as bed-like seats that recline up to 140 degrees, complementary Wi-Fi, 110-volt power outlets, on-board entertainment, reserved seating, and no baggage fees.

Last October, RedCoach launched nonstop routes serving Houston, Dallas, Austin, Waco, and College Station. In February, RedCoach added two stops in Katy and Richardson.

According to RedCoach’s website, the company plans to expand in the near future to Fort Worth and San Marcos.

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San Antonio parks in No. 5 spot for worst traffic in Texas

be prepared to stop

Honk if you hate San Antonio traffic! According to a new study, you’re more than justified in laying on the horn to express frustration over the Alamo City’s clogged roads.

The study, released by geolocation technology company TomTom, shows the typical San Antonio driver wasted 36 hours last year due to traffic congestion. San Antonio’s traffic congestion rate was 16 percent.

Jammed-up traffic congestion was up 3 percent from 2020 but down 3 percent from 2019, parking San Antonio at the No. 5 spot for the worst traffic in Texas, No. 41 in the U.S., and No. 318 in the world for traffic congestion, further highlight the drive-me-up-a-wall status of San Antonio commutes.

While San Antonio’s snarled traffic can certainly cause bumper-to-bumper exasperation, it’s not as bad as some other Texas cities. Houston ranks first in Texas for traffic congestion, with Texas A&M Transportation Institute data published in December showing the 610 West Loop was the state’s most congested stretch of roadway in 2020, trading places with I-35 in Austin, which held the top spot in 2019.

On top of that, Houston is home to 10 of the 14 worst trucking bottlenecks in Texas, according to an American Transportation Research Institute ranking released earlier this month. The absolute worst: I-45 at I-69 and U.S. Highway 59. The institute deemed that intersection the third-worst trucking bottleneck in the country for 2021.

“Bottlenecks around the state continue to waste time and money, further damaging the already fragile supply chain,” John Esparza, president and CEO of the Texas Trucking Association, says in a news release. “With the newly available federal resources for infrastructure projects, there’s no excuse. These bottlenecks must be addressed. A reliable and stable transportation network is essential to our economy — just like the trucking industry.”

Here’s how other major Texas cities fared in the TomTom study:

  • Houston ranked first in Texas, 16th in the U.S., and 214th in the world for traffic congestion. Time wasted in traffic last year for a typical driver: 46 hours. Congestion rate: 20 percent. Congestion up 4 percent from 2020 but down 4 percent from 2019.
  • McAllen ranked second in Texas, 18th in the U.S., and 218th in the world for traffic congestion. Time wasted in traffic last year for a typical driver: 46 hours. Congestion rate: 20 percent. Congestion up 4 percent from 2020 and up 1 percent from 2019.
  • Austin ranked third in Texas, 21st in the U.S., and 221st in the world for traffic congestion. Time wasted in traffic last year for a typical driver: 46 hours. Congestion rate: 20 percent. Congestion up 2 percent from 2020 and down 7 percent from 2019.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth ranked fourth in Texas, 37th in the U.S., and 305th in the world for traffic congestion. Time wasted in traffic last year for a typical driver: 39 hours. Congestion rate: 17 percent. Congestion up 4 percent from 2020 but down 2 percent from 2019.
  • El Paso ranked sixth in Texas, 44th in the U.S., and 324th in the world for traffic congestion. Time wasted in traffic last year for a typical driver: 36 hours. Congestion rate: 16 percent. Congestion up 4 percent from 2020 and the same as 2019.

Not surprisingly, the TomTom study awards New York City the title of the worst-congested place in the country. In 2021, the typical New York driver wasted 80 hours in traffic, with a 35 percent congestion rate.

Racking up a congestion rate of 62 percent last year, Istanbul, Turkey, claimed the title of the world’s worst city for traffic. There, motorists wasted 142 hours in traffic in 2021.

Photo by VichienPetchmai/Getty Images

San Antonio airport gifts travel advice for the busiest flying season of the year

Christmas in the air

If holiday travel stresses you out, get ready for the not-so-thoughtful gift of packed airports and roadways, Grinch-y passengers, and long lines, not to mention those mean little COVID elves attempting to spread anything but good cheer.

As we enter some of the busiest travel days of the year this week, San Antonio International Airport is offering up some holiday travel tips to help keep you safe and feeling like less of a Scrooge.

The airport expects a peak in travel two days before Christmas — Thursday, December 23 — and then again two days after New Year’s Day, on Monday, January 3.

“San Antonio International Airport anticipates increased numbers, especially with the addition of new nonstop flights to JFK, Boston, and Colorado Springs,” says Jesus H. Saenz, director of airports for the San Antonio Airport System. “The Colorado Springs route is seasonal, so some travelers will see snow during the holidays.”

While the potential of a white Christmas could bring cheer to some passengers, the fact remains that we are still living in a pandemic, so airport reps urge caution and point out that SAT’s COIVD-19 protocols and safety measures are still in place. (Note: SAT’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be on an abbreviated holiday schedule and will be closed December 23-January 3. Otherwise, clinic hours are daily from 9 am-6 pm and no appointment is necessary to receive a vaccine or booster.)

SAT maintains its contactless check-in areas, and hand-sanitization stations are conveniently located throughout the airport. Masks are distributed at each airline’s ticket counter, and TSA checkpoints and the airport’s information desks also have them for anyone who enters the airport without a mask.

And when you hear those regular messages and reminders to wear a mask, distance from others, and wash your hands, take heed and remember that we’re all in this together.

Here are some SAT recommendations for how you can fly safely, confidently — and, we might add, with a bit of joy and lightness in your heart:

  • Check flight status online: Before you even get out the door, check the status of your flight online from home. You can also set yourself up with email alerts from the airline so there are no surprises.
  • Print your boarding pass early: Again, do a little prep work prior to leaving home by printing your boarding pass or downloading a digital version to your smartphone. Otherwise, you can use the airline check-in kiosk at SAT, though be prepared for longer lines during the holidays.
  • Save your elf work for later: The TSA recommends that passengers do not bring wrapped gifts to the airport. Pack your gift items unwrapped and add the festive adornments once you reach your destination. A word of warning: If you show up with a wrapped gift, the TSA may have to unwrap it for security reasons.
  • Arrive early: Passengers are encouraged to arrive at least two hours before the boarding time of their scheduled flight, especially during the peak travel periods.
  • Park wisely: After giving yourself ample time to navigate traffic on the way to the airport (remember, it’s the busiest travel time of the year), know where you’re headed to park the car. SAT offers nearly 9,000 parking spaces between its short-term, long-term, and economy lots (formerly known as the green and red lots). Obviously, the economy lots are the most affordable, and they include a free shuttle service that runs every six minutes. Utilize the signs for SAT’s Park Assist System to guide you to available spots. (You can also use the Park Assist app to better your chances of scoring a great spot.) Keep your ticket and consider jotting down your parking info so you don’t have to wander the lots indefinitely upon your return.
  • Use the cellphone lot: If you’re picking up passengers rather than heading out, drive straight to the convenient cellphone lot to await their arrival. The new lot is located directly behind the Burger King and Q Mart convenience store on Airport Boulevard and features a digital monitor displaying real-time updates on flight arrivals.
  • Know what can go: With regard to liquids, gels, and aerosols in carry-ons, stick to the 3-1-1 rule, meaning containers should have no more than 3, 1, and 1 ounces, respectively. You can bring some food along, but not sauces, preserved foods, or wine that’s more than 3.4 ounces.
  • Be ready: When you enter the security checkpoint line, have your ID and boarding pass readily available to show to the TSA officer.
  • Ask for help: Despite these tips, should you find yourself aimlessly ambling around the airport like a lost little reindeer, don’t hesitate to ask for help from the friendly airport ambassadors and staff. Travelers with questions about security or what they can and can’t bring on the plane can also tweet questions and comments to @AskTSA for live assistance.

Greyhound drives forward with mandatory masks on all buses

Coronavirus News

Bus riders must now wear masks, thanks to a new policy from Dallas-based Greyhound Lines Inc.

Beginning May 13, Greyhound will require customers to wear a face covering while on their buses, as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.

The only exceptions will be children under the age of two, and those who are medically unable to wear a mask, who will not be required to do so.

While some cities and states require passengers to wear face coverings when in public, Greyhound is extending this requirement throughout its nationwide network. Greyhound is the largest provider of intercity bus transportation in North America.

Greyhound Lines CEO Dave Leach says in a statement that the new policy joins a list of efforts the company has undertaken.

"Our safety-first commitment goes beyond transporting customers," Leach says. "We care about the health and well-being of all our passengers and employees which is evident in the safety precautions we have taken since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. As we continue to provide vital transportation nationwide, it is important that we continue to make temporary, yet necessary, changes to our policies in order to create a safe environment for all our customers and team members."

Cloth face coverings made from common materials can be used as a public health measure in place of face masks. Customers who do not have a face covering, or whose covering is damaged, can ask their driver or a Greyhound terminal employee for a disposable mask.

Greyhound is already requiring all drivers and customer-facing employees to wear face masks during their shifts.

The company is also doing frequent routine cleanings of locations and thorough sanitization of its buses after every trip.

In addition, they've introducing ozonation, an advanced sanitation process developed to destroy harmful bacteria that has been proven to kill viruses, including the novel coronavirus.

More information about Greyhound's policies are on greyhound.com/peaceofmind. For fare and schedule information, or to purchase tickets, call 1-800-231-2222, visit Greyhound.com or use Greyhound's mobile app.

Photo by Picardo/Getty Images

San Antonio steers onto list of Texas’ most dangerous cities for drivers

Caution signs

When it comes to traffic safety, San Antonio is in the danger zone.

An analysis of 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Texas Department of Transportation published by Austin-based Aceable, a provider of online driving courses, puts San Antonio at No. 11 among the 20 most dangerous cities for drivers.

Aceable ranked the 40 largest Texas cities based on the number of fatal traffic accidents per 100,000 residents. San Antonio recorded 8.81 fatal traffic accidents per 100,000 residents, according to the study.

“From distracted driving to drunk and drugged driving to drowsy driving to outdated laws and infrastructure, there are many factors that play a role in road safety — and the reality is most accidents are actually largely preventable,” Laura Adams, driving safety and education analyst at Aceable, says in a February 19 release. “We hope this report encourages drivers, local leaders, and legislators across the state to take action to make the roads safer.”

The most dangerous city for Texas drivers is Dallas, with 14.42 fatal traffic accidents per 100,000 residents. Other Texas cities on the most-dangerous list include Houston, tied with Abilene for No. 14, with 8.13 fatal accidents per 100,000 residents, and Austin, No. 18 with 6.84 fatal accidents per 100,000 residents.

The two safest big cities in Texas are Allen and The Woodlands, which both recorded zero fatal traffic accidents. Waco ranks the 15th safest (5.79 fatal traffic accidents per 100,000 residents), followed by Killeen, 16th, with 6.04 fatalities per 100,000 residents.

These 3 Texas roads declared the most dangerous for holiday travel

Drive Safe

If you're about to go over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house, keep this in mind: Texas is home to three of the deadliest roads for holiday travel.

Financial site ValuePenguin looked at reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and collated data from more than 2,700 fatal car accidents between 2015 and 2018 to find which roads are the deadliest during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I-10 (California to Florida) going through Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans, and Jacksonville is No. 1 on the list. I-35 (Texas to Minnesota), which travels through Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, is listed at No. 4, and I-20 (Texas to South Carolina) through Dallas; Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; and Atlanta is fifth.

These join I-95 (Florida to Maine) and I-80 (California to New Jersey) as the most dangerous during holiday times, with all five accounting for 151 deaths between the three years studied. That's 15 percent of all holiday travel deaths on the entire National Highway System, despite making up only 6 percent of total mileage.

Bexar County is considered the third most dangerous area for those traveling I-35 on Thanksgiving; it ranks as the most dangerous for Christmas travel. In fact, the most dangerous areas of I-35, according to the report, are all located in Texas.

Obviously, traffic volume along these highways likely has a big impact on the high number of deaths, but drunk driving is also a factor. Roughly one in every three fatal holiday-season traffic accidents involved a drunken driver.

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Where to see the once-in-recorded-history green comet approaching San Antonio

Seeing green

The world is buzzing with news of an approaching astronomical body, Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), more often referred to in the news and social media as "the green comet." Its most recent appearance was 50,000 years ago — compared to the about 200,000 years since modern humans emerged.

"While the pictures of it have been impressive, its visual appearance differs greatly," explains Joe Wheelock, public program specialist at the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin. "Currently you might glimpse it with the unaided eye as a fuzzy patch of light[,] but you would need to be away from city lights. Binoculars or a telescope would improve the view, and you might even glimpse a faint tail."

As tempting as it is — and as much fodder as its made on social media — this experience will not be easy for most Texans to photograph and share. "The pictures that have been posted on various websites were taken by experienced astrophotographers and in most cases cameras designed for astrophotography," Wheelock warns.

Some logistics to note when planning a viewing:

  • The comet will be closest to Earth (thus, likely the most visible) on February 1.
  • Wheelan says placement will also be good in late January and early February, and it will be best viewed after midnight. Since the new moon was on January 21, every day the moon will compete with it a little more.
  • The McDonald Observatory posts daily stargazing tips, so viewers will have a few chances at seeing something special, even if the comment doesn't work out.
  • Getting out of San Antn is the best bet against light pollution.

Those who are willing to make a trip out of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity should consider their best chances at out running the city lights. The closest popular option to San Antonio proper is McAllister Park, which sometimes hosts stargazing events. For a more structured approach, the Curtis Vaughan Jr. Observatory at the University of Texas at San Antonio hosts first Friday stargazing nights after sunset. The McDonald Observatory, although it is an entity of the University of Texas at Austin, is in Fort Davis, about 400 miles from San Antonio.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) maintains records of some of the world's least light-polluted skies and works to protect them, ensuring that these places stay available for reliable stargazing retreats. There are four IDA-certified Dark Sky Parks in Texas: Enchanted Rock (90 miles from San Antonio), South Llano River (120 miles), Copper Breaks (370 miles), and Big Bend Ranch (490 miles).

In addition to the certified parks, there is a smaller group of Dark Sky Sanctuaries, which are especially dark and carefully protected. There are two in Texas: Devil's River State Natural Area (170 miles) and Black Gap Wildlife Management Area (390 miles).

For more in-depth reading on the comet's trajectory and context, Wheelan suggests an article in Sky & TelescopeSky & Telescope.

San Antonio suburb among the richest places in Texas for 2023, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio suburb cashes in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Alamo Heights has been renamed the third richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study.

2. San Antonio home sales slowed in December 2022, report finds. San Antonio sold 36,477 homes all year, a 10 percent decrease from 2021.

3. Here are the top 5 things to do in San Antonio this weekend. Nina Simone, Pink Floyd, the Beatles and more music-centered events made our roundup of the best things to do in Alamo City this weekend.

4. San Antonio Home & Garden Show returns with HGTV star. Ati Williams will headline the San Antonio Spring Home & Garden Show, which takes place February 24-26.

5. H-E-B opens first location in growing San Antonio suburb. The state-of-the-art facility offers 110,000 square feet of floor space, providing everything from cat food to charcuterie.


Popular Pearl brunch spot remixes with new weekend DJ nights

OONCE OONCE OONCE

Though Full Goods Diner has barely been open for half a year, it has already become a San Antonio staple for working weekday lunches and lingering Sunday Fundays. Now the Pearl eatery is looking to be a hot spot after dark.

Via release, the popular local haunt just announced a new limited-time music series, Full Goods at Night. Starting on February 2, Full Goods Diner will open select evenings throughout the month.

The Full Goods at Night series will feature popular local San Antonio DJs, including El West Side Sound, Hector Gallego, DJ Plata, Steven Lee Moya, and Cami Gee. Guests can enjoy live sets while indulging in a specially curated food and drink offerings.

The menu will include some of Full Goods Diner's best—selling items, such as French toast sticks, barbacoa waffle fries, and jumbo cheesy tots. Libations like the Attaboy Negroni, Royal Bermuda Daiquiri, Pink G&T, and more will fuel the festivities.

In addition to enjoying moonlight brunch, guests can relish some prime people-watching. And, of course, the restaurant is just a hop from other nightlife destinations like Pink Hill, 3 Star Bar, and Summer Camp Bar, making it the perfect party starter.

The series runs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from February 2-25, 6-10 pm. The complete DJ schedule is listed below.

February 2 — El West Side Sound·
February 3 — Hector Gallego
February 4— DJ Plata
February 9 — El West Side Sound
February 10 — Steven Lee Moya
February 11 — Cami Gee
February 16 — El West Side Sound
February 17 — Steven Lee Moya
February 18 — Hector Gallego
February 23 — El West Side Sound
February 24— Steven Lee Moya
February 25 — DJ Plata