Houston Auto Lender Fined $2.75 Million for Screwing With Customers' Credit

First Investors Financial Services

If you happened to need a sub-prime auto loan sometime in the past few years, and you happened to get said sub-prime loan from Houston's First Investors Financial Services Group, you may want to check your credit score.

Seriously. These guys might have screwed you over. Last week, First Investors was fined about $2.75 million by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over allegations that they botched the credit reports of thousands of car buyers. Knowingly. For years.

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Woman, 60, Recovering After Being Struck by Downtown Light Rail

Wikipedia Commons
Another one for the accident files.
A 60-year-old woman is in stable condition after being struck by a Metro light rail train early this morning.

The woman, whose name hasn't been released, is recovering at Memorial Hermann Hospital. Reports said she was unconscious and breathing at the time of the incident.

The crash occurred early this morning just after 6 a.m. near Main Street and Lamar Street, according to a Metro spokesperson.

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Don't Sweat Your Commute: H-GAC Asks Houstonians To Consider Alternatives

Flickr user MichaelB
Consider the light rail.
You might think you spend a lot of time sitting in traffic, but did you know that the average Houstonian also spends $6,000 a year on commuting? That's not just gas. That includes everything from new tires, wear and tear on your car, and wasted productivity.

That's why this month the Houston-Galveston Area Council is trying to encourage Houstonians to consider alternative means of transport as part of something they're calling "Commute Solution Months."

Yes, months, plural. Commute Solution Month (singular) is a nation-wide effort in August to get people to drive less. But due to Houston's heat, H-GAC extends the program into fall to make it a little more effective. After all, no one wants to bike to work in the dead of summer.

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Car and Light Rail Collide at Jefferson and Main (PHOTOS)...Again

Steve Jansen
Sometime after 2:30 p.m., a Dodge Charger tried to take on a Metro light-rail train.

The light rail won.

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Downtown Light Rail Closed This Weekend

Not this weekend
If your weekend plans including tooling around downtown on the light rail, get ready to make some adjustments.

Businesses and residences will be open as usual, but construction between the Downtown Transit Center and UH-Downtown stations will be suspended and buses will be used instead.

The shuttle buses will operate every 10 minutes, Metro says.

Why the shutdown? " Systems ductbank work and demolition preparing for new track for METRORail expansion," says the agency.

Regular rail service will continue between the DTC and Fannin South.

The shutdown will take effect from 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 to midnight, Sunday, Sept. 16, with regular service back up Monday morning.

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Free Wi-Fi at Houston's Airports But Grab It Quick, Ends Soon

Take it all -- while you can get it.

Both George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby airports will have free wi-fi thanks to Google Play (yay!), but only through the end of September (boo).

As we reported in July, Houston airports don't have the extended free wi-fi amenities that many others in the country do. As part of a multimillion deal brokered in 2007, George Bush Intercontinental sticks to a 45-minute limit.

As our writer Mitchell Slapik wrote: "Once your time runs out, they don't have hourly rates, so you have to pay $7.95 for a full day or $9.95 for a month to stay online. Fortunately, you can use some of that extra time at any of Boingo's 500,000 hotspots around the world."

Well, as part of a promotion generous offer by Google Play, free Boingo wi-fi will be available "at more than 4,000 hotspots nationwide. Sponsored wi-fi locations include 15 airports as well as Boingo-enabled Manhattan subway stations, and thousands of hotels, shopping malls and cafes," Boingo says.

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Reliant Offering Free Rides to Texans Games Again: Ride with Andre

Photo by Reliant
One more problem solved as regards the Texans: Getting to home games.

It's maybe not as important as making sure Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson make it through the season without missing a half-dozen games each to injury, but if you're a fan headed to Reliant, you do want your experience to be as hassle-free as possible.

To aid in that goal, Metro is once again offering free light-rail rides to the park, meaning not only do you save a couple of dollars, but you avoid having to queue up to buy a ticket that probably won't be checked. (Unless you decide to risk it and your luck's running out.)

Better yet -- you get to ride in an Andre Johnson-encased rail car, one wrapped in a picture of him celebrating the kind of big play we all hope he will have to celebrate many times this year.

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Metro, NFl, Texans

Megabus Is Coming: A Buck Can Get You to the Big D, the Big Easy and the Alamo

Sleek double-deckers are part of the Megabus fleet.
New Jersey-based express bus service Megabus is coming June 19, and you can already start booking $2 round-trips to Dallas, New Orleans and San Antonio. There will be 18 nonstop departures a day from two locations: Polk and Travis downtown, and the Eastwood Transit Center at 4400 Gulf Freeway.

Fares for all trips start at $1 and increase as the travel date approaches, so booking early is wise. To promote their arrival here, during the first week of sales (meaning right now), all tickets are going for a buck, and the company is giving away 10,000 free seats.

Megabus's fleet is reportedly plush: Some are double-deckers and they offer free WiFi and power outlets to riders. The company claims that their fleet is environmentally friendly as well.

Trips to Austin and Galveston are also available at Megabus.com, but those routes are operated by Megabus partner the Kerrville Bus Company. No free trips to those cities are being given away as part of the promotion.

But think of it: a dollar to New Orleans! That will leave you lots of extra cash to spend in that city's many museums, bookstores and edifying historical monuments!

Follow Houston Press on Facebook and on Twitter @HairBallsNews or @HoustonPress.

City Settles Red-Light Camera Dispute for $4.78 Million

red light photo enforced.jpg
Well, well, well, the City of Houston announced over the weekend that our long, horrible nightmare is over ding dong the wicked witch is dead they have settled their lawsuit with American Traffic Solutions to rid us of the scourge red-light traffic cameras FOREVER once and for all.

Setting aside for the moment the fairy tale-like hyperbole, the city has agreed to pay ATS $4.78 million to settle their dispute over the agreement they had with the company to keep the red lights operating. City council approved ending the red-light camera program after a vote by Houstonians in November 2010 rejected them. We wrote about the entire fiasco in a September cover story.

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Your Bus & Rail Is Free on New Year's Eve

Happy New Year from Metro.
If your New Year's Eve plans include drinking past the point where it'd be wise to get behind the wheel, Metro's got your back.

All buses and light rail are free from 6 p.m. New Year's Eve until 6 a.m. New Year's Day, the agency announced.

Metro says it "wants to help individuals celebrating the arrival of the New Year a safe option
to get home rather than getting behind the wheel."

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DWI, Metro

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