PAX South 2015 Travel/Transportation

PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
Hello,

I'm going to start this thread because this should be a popular topic since a large percentage of us are new to San Antonio. Some of this has been discussed in the FAQ thread. I'll start this off by asking if anyone has good suggestions for getting from airport to the PAX convention/hotel area. I know this has been already talked about in FAQ but I'd like to have it in this thread also so people can find it easy. East and Prime have really nice offerings for this (Prime's light rail and East's silver line bus route) What's South's equivalent?

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  • PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
    Also for those wondering San Antonio's airport code is SAT.

  • HeadhunterHeadhunter Registered User regular
    I'm interested too! Hopefully it's a relatively straight shot, like the light rail in Seattle.

    "Perception is reality." -unknown
  • Cid29Cid29 Registered User regular
    edited September 2014
    Sorry, no rails in San Antonio. Have to take a shuttle or taxi, shuttle is cheaper. It should take about 20 min.

    http://www.sanantonio.gov/SAT/GroundTransportation/Shuttle.aspx

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  • Josh5890Josh5890 ChicagoRegistered User regular
    I plan on flying with my buddy from Midway. I'm banking on Southwest having a black friday deal so that I can pick up cheap tickets.

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  • PineappleChuckPineappleChuck Registered User regular
    The wife and I are driving from Oklahoma City, if anyone wants to caravan.

  • antheremantherem Registered User regular
    Cid29 wrote: »
    Sorry, no rails in San Antonio. Have to take a shuttle or taxi, shuttle is cheaper. It should take about 20 min.

    http://www.sanantonio.gov/SAT/GroundTransportation/Shuttle.aspx

    I've used the shuttle before, it works pretty well.
    However.
    They don't start running from hotels to the airport until after 4:00 AM, and they won't make you a reservation for less than two hours ahead of your flight. So if you're on a 6 AM flight out, you're stuck with a taxi going back.

    Virgil_Leads_You
  • HeadhunterHeadhunter Registered User regular
    Cid29 wrote: »
    Sorry, no rails in San Antonio. Have to take a shuttle or taxi, shuttle is cheaper. It should take about 20 min.

    http://www.sanantonio.gov/SAT/GroundTransportation/Shuttle.aspx

    $19 each way or $34 round trip is not bad, I'll keep that in mind if I end up going (and will book flights accordingly). Thanks!

    "Perception is reality." -unknown
  • X3R0 9X3R0 9 Registered User regular
    Anybody driving to San Antonio from the East Coast? My family and I will be driving in from SC.

  • coomtasticcoomtastic Smexy Beast TejasRegistered User regular
    I'm not sure if I wanna drive the 4-ish hours from Huntsville to San Antonio, or if I wanna be lazy and take the bus (it's like 6-ish hours).

    I guess it depends on price of gas and how comfortable I feel about city driving.

  • Tesla RangerTesla Ranger BCRegistered User regular
    edited September 2014
    The wife and I are driving from Oklahoma City, if anyone wants to caravan.

    I used to make this drive every so often when I was stationed at Tinker. IIRC, you can take 210 pretty much straight south but you'll wind up being on the road for 10+ hours. It's faster, though a longer trip, to take I-35 and come down through Dallas and Austin. I think that trip took closer to 6-8 hours depending on the traffic around those two cities.


    San Antonio does have a decent system of public transport busses called Via. That could/should be useful for anyone looking to get around town without a car.

    Tesla Ranger on
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  • WickershamWickersham Registered User regular
    edited September 2014
    It's faster, though a longer trip, to take I-35 and come down through Dallas and Austin. I think that trip took closer to 6-8 hours depending on the traffic around those two cities.


    San Antonio does have a decent system of public transport busses called Via. That could/should be useful for anyone looking to get around town without a car.

    Avoid taking 35 through Austin at all costs. Traffic is uniformly horrible, and it's not that great coming into San Antonio either. My advice would be to take 130 around Austin, then jump on the new toll road, State Highway 183, that runs from Austin to just outside SA. It's a bit of a longer trip in terms of mileage, but the traffic is much lighter so you save quite a bit of time. You don't need change; they take pictures of your license plate and send you a bill in the mail. The trip ends up costing about ten bucks and is well worth it, in my opinion.

    Wickersham on
  • orthancstoneorthancstone TexasRegistered User regular
    On that note, I-35 in DFW is a nightmare right now. Both West and East are under construction in some form. You really want to consider time of day when passing through.

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  • PineappleChuckPineappleChuck Registered User regular
    On that note, I-35 in DFW is a nightmare right now. Both West and East are under construction in some form. You really want to consider time of day when passing through.

    Thanks for the advice, gents! If 35 is bad through DFW and Austin, I think we'll take 44 to Wichita Falls and follow 281 into SA. Google maps puts that at just under 8 hours.

  • TimelockTimelock Registered User new member
    Unfortunately San Antonio's public transportation really isn't that great beyond the VIA bus which you can find more info about here: http://www.viainfo.net/Ride/Default.aspx. In order to get to the convention center from the airport though, if you are renting a car you will just need to get on to 281 South and exit 141A for the convention center.

  • jj4thjj4th Registered User regular
    The VIA bus... short for "voyages in agony" or "variants in annoyance"... bus rides in San Antonio come in one flavor, cheap, slow, and rarely on time. Avoid at all costs :o

  • MaggieTheCatMaggieTheCat Registered User regular
    I have to agree that the buses here are not impressive, at all. It could easily take you 2-3 hours to get to anywhere in the city by bus, and that's if a bus even runs to somewhere close to where you're looking to go. Downtown San Antonio is pretty condensed and everything is within walking distance, but the rest of the city is sprawling (we live on the far far NW side of town and it used to take us nearly an hour to drive to a guy's house when he would host a gaming group on the far NE side of town, up by New Braunfels, and that's when traffic was good.) If you're looking to go to somewhere outside of the downtown area, you'll want your own vehicle, or someone who can give you a ride.

  • AllforceAllforce Registered User regular
    Is Uber running in SA? Or if not are cabs pretty available at all hours to flag down? I'm staying reasonably close to the convention center but there's some spots I'd like to eat/drink at that are downtown but still seem like a hefty hike.

  • coomtasticcoomtastic Smexy Beast TejasRegistered User regular
    According to the Uber site, yes, they do operate there. Pretty large area it seems too.

  • jj4thjj4th Registered User regular
    Uber and Lyft are somewhat risky in San Antonio. It seems fairly likely that they will be legalized before Pax South, but currently they are not operating with the sanction of the city and Uber/Lyft vehicles are potentially subject to traffic stops and impounds... at least, that's what it seems from the local news. I understand a decision will be made in November, and all signs point to it being legalized, but drivers will probably have to pay for some sort of city license. The basic two elements are 1. removing the cap on taxi cab licenses the city can issue, and 2. ensuring that all companies that provide taxi-like services have at least some ADA compliant vehicles in their fleet.

  • AllforceAllforce Registered User regular
    So can you at least flag a cab down on a downtown street or near the Riverwalk on a Th/Fr/Sat night? Or are you calling a cab company?

  • jj4thjj4th Registered User regular
    Downtown is quite walkable, even at that time of year (barring the occasional cold snap which might require you to wear long pants and a jacket). I've been downtown often enough in the two decades I've lived here and haven't seen a lot of empty cabs just roaming the streets, but most of the cab companies that operate here have cell phone apps.

  • koleypunchkoleypunch Portland, OR/Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2014
    I see a lot of people are mentioning how bad the buses are, but I was planning on just taking it from the airport to downtown to save on cash (versus the shuttle bus or a cab). Any natives think the bus would be an ok way to go just as a method to/from the airport?

    koleypunch on
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  • MaggieTheCatMaggieTheCat Registered User regular
    It looks like there is a single bus that runs from the airport to downtown in about an hour, so that wouldn't be too bad (it's when you have to transfer buses that things start to get messy.) You can see the bus schedule on Google Maps; just put in your starting location (San Antonio International Airport) and your destination (Henry B Gonzales Convention Center) and select the bus icon for public transport and it will give you a list of bus route options and when they run. It is pretty accurate from my experience when I have used the buses. The main thing I would be worried about is your luggage; if you have a lot and the bus is packed, you may not have room for everything.

  • TheAggroCraigTheAggroCraig Ultimate Lucky Douchebag MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    So myself and a few others are flying into Houston from Boston for about $130 round trip via Jetblue, direct flights too. I'm not sure if the deal is available still, but for a flight to Houston and a few hour bus ride to San Antonio (or a car rental if I don't feel like bussing), it's a pretty stellar deal.

  • QumadenQumaden World's Mightiest Mortal Registered User regular
    koleypunch wrote: »
    I see a lot of people are mentioning how bad the buses are, but I was planning on just taking it from the airport to downtown to save on cash (versus the shuttle bus or a cab). Any natives think the bus would be an ok way to go just as a method to/from the airport?

    @koleypunch‌ it won't be the best experience you've ever had, but, you're looking at about thirty bucks, one way with no tip. It all depends on how much your time and comfort are worth honestly.

  • QumadenQumaden World's Mightiest Mortal Registered User regular
    On that note, I-35 in DFW is a nightmare right now. Both West and East are under construction in some form. You really want to consider time of day when passing through.

    Thanks for the advice, gents! If 35 is bad through DFW and Austin, I think we'll take 44 to Wichita Falls and follow 281 into SA. Google maps puts that at just under 8 hours.

    I take that route pretty regularly, it's not "bad", but I much preferred 35, but that is considering I hit Dallas and Austin at off peak times.

  • Bartoni33Bartoni33 Southern IllinoisRegistered User regular
    I haven't seen anyone mention these guys so I will.
    http://www.citytoursinc.com/airport-shuttle
    Looks like a good way to get from the airport to your hotel if they don't already have shuttle service. Can anyone living in SA comment on them?

  • HingoHingo Minneapolis, MNRegistered User regular
    Well it looks like flights to San Antonio from Minneapolis never dropped below $350. Flights to Dallas are around $150 at their low end, but dealing with a rental car and a 5+ hour drive one way isn't my idea of fun on a vacation. If by some miracle prices do drop (and of course that can only happen after I buy my tickets given my luck), I'll post up again in here so it will at least exist for historical purposes in case any other crazy Minnesotans go to the next PAX South.

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  • kyan22kyan22 Tucson,azRegistered User regular
    My husband and I are driving from Tucson,az Thursday night and returning sunday night/Monday morning if anyone wants a ride let me know we just would need help with gas

    3xTru
  • AGFrocksAGFrocks Registered User new member
    edited December 2014
    OK so if I go, I will be staying with family, which is what i recommend, also some good restaraunts are:
    • La Fonda on Main
    • Chris Madrid's
    • La Fonda (diff than La Fonda on Main)

    AGFrocks on
  • JensunamiJensunami Registered User regular
    Uber is still up and running. I have used them a few times around town. The local taxi company is of course against them but I am all for competition.

  • gunadicgunadic Registered User regular
    Hingo wrote: »
    Well it looks like flights to San Antonio from Minneapolis never dropped below $350. Flights to Dallas are around $150 at their low end, but dealing with a rental car and a 5+ hour drive one way isn't my idea of fun on a vacation. If by some miracle prices do drop (and of course that can only happen after I buy my tickets given my luck), I'll post up again in here so it will at least exist for historical purposes in case any other crazy Minnesotans go to the next PAX South.

    Maybe try flying through Austin instead? It's a 1-1.5 hour drive depending on traffic. Most of the worst traffic shouldn't be a problem as the Austin Airport isn't in the city proper.

  • AggressAggress Houston, TXRegistered User regular
    coomtastic wrote: »
    I'm not sure if I wanna drive the 4-ish hours from Huntsville to San Antonio, or if I wanna be lazy and take the bus (it's like 6-ish hours).

    I guess it depends on price of gas and how comfortable I feel about city driving.

    San Antonio is not bad at all to drive through when compared to Chicago/NY/Atlanta/Boston. Totally months late but hopefully someone will find useful.

  • HingoHingo Minneapolis, MNRegistered User regular
    gunadic wrote: »
    Hingo wrote: »
    Well it looks like flights to San Antonio from Minneapolis never dropped below $350. Flights to Dallas are around $150 at their low end, but dealing with a rental car and a 5+ hour drive one way isn't my idea of fun on a vacation. If by some miracle prices do drop (and of course that can only happen after I buy my tickets given my luck), I'll post up again in here so it will at least exist for historical purposes in case any other crazy Minnesotans go to the next PAX South.

    Maybe try flying through Austin instead? It's a 1-1.5 hour drive depending on traffic. Most of the worst traffic shouldn't be a problem as the Austin Airport isn't in the city proper.
    Flights to Austin are still up there in cost from Minneapolis. Here's a run-down of all of the travel info I've tracked for anyone else considering a PAX South from the Minneapolis area:

    Cheapest flights: Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) flights dropped as low as $107 round-trip. That's still a hefty drive (6ish hours) + rental car costs. If traveling in a group, and time driving isn't an issue, that's the way to go (assuming you're 25+ and don't get screwed on rental car fees). If you're under 25, then look for flights to Houston and planning ahead for the Megabus or something similar to get to San Antonio. Houston flights were around $200 on the low end. Direct flights to San Antonio from MSP never dropped below $350 yet (screw you, Delta). Southwest never did better than $370ish, and with terrible travel times + connections compared to Delta. If you're also looking at staying places on the cheap, check out Airbnb and VRBO for larger groups, otherwise there are a fair amount of reasonable priced hotels within 1 mile of the convention center. I was glad to see hotel prices cheaper than Boston and Seattle for once :-)

    I hope someone in the future at least finds this useful.

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    2015 PAX Prime Omeganaut (I will forever hate Katamari)
  • WickershamWickersham Registered User regular
    Dallas->SA isn't quite a six hour drive. I'd say four to five, depending on how fast you like to drive. Still longer than a beer run, but every little bit helps.

  • orthancstoneorthancstone TexasRegistered User regular
    Four is a bit optimistic since it requires open road and speeding :P

    (but yes, it can be done 8-) )

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  • kube00kube00 SE WA StateRegistered User regular
    I thought I read that my hotel had a shuttle...if not I'll take a cab

    1st PAX was Prime 2010. Made it to several more Primes/West. Been to East and South. Headed back to West in 2019 for my 12th PAX.

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  • 3xTru3xTru Registered User new member
    kyan22 wrote: »
    My husband and I are driving from Tucson,az Thursday night and returning sunday night/Monday morning if anyone wants a ride let me know we just would need help with gas

    Kyan, I'm in Phoenix and looking for a travel buddy, I can definitely chip in with costs.

  • kyan22kyan22 Tucson,azRegistered User regular
    Could u make it down to Tucson and then join us?

  • zealezeale Saint LouisRegistered User regular
    I was finally able to finalize my travel plans and got my flight booked! I picked up my hotel and badges months ago but I just started a new job and wanted to confirm that I could have the days off before booking a flight. Done, and done! Found a non-stop flight from STL to San Antonio. I'm so stoked to have everything lined up and ready to go ... just need another month to go by so I can be amongst my people once again! Also, I'll be completing the North American PAX hat trick. I attended Prime in '13 and East this year. I hope to make it to AUS dome day but that will involve a lot more saving I think.

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