Local News

Aug 7, 2014 5:56 PM by Janine Reyes

New TxDOT Signs Show Outdated Wait Times

PORT ARANSAS -- Taking the ferry to and from Port Aransas can be either a time saver or a traffic trap, it all depends on how many cars are in line ahead of you. New TxDOT signs and technology are supposed to show you what kind of a wait you're in for.

But KRIS 6 News found out that sometimes those wait times are severely outdated.

We found Mark Lamdein waiting in line for the ferry today. He says the wait time is always nice to know. "In the summer we always know it's going yo be a wait," he explained.

The signs run by The Texas Department of Transportation are supposed to tell you that.

Today we found them to be accurate, but, yesterday, not so much.

6 News has a picture one driver snapped in broad daylight, showing the wait time at 1:28 a.m.

"That's a long time, it's a little outdated," Lamdein said after seeing the picture.

We found another man in line for the ferry who said it doesn't matter what the signs say. "Everyday it's different. You could try to guess 10 minutes from now it's going to be different from what it is now," he said, adding that he doesn't believe the wait times are accurate anyway.

TXDot is now using new bluetooth and wifi technology to update the signs. That started a month ago and they say wait times are more accurate than ever.

Examples like the image we caught yesterday, they say, is one of kinks of the new system.

This afternoon, it gave a wait time as of 2:30 p.m. when we checked out the sign at 3:00 p.m.

Teresa Poore also waited in the line early this afternoon, she has a vacation rental in Port A and found today's wait time on point. "Because I'm on vacation it doesn't matter but if I lived here it was on a time schedule it would matter because it would be the difference between going to work or wherever you're going," she said.

For Lamdein, it doesn't make a difference whether he's crossing for business or pleasure, in fact, on weekends, since traffic can be worse, it matters to him more. "The weekends are really really important to know," he said, "I've waited 4 hours on the other side just to get on."

Knowing that before being stuck in hours of traffic could save hours of drive time if you just take a detour. "I'll just go over to Ingleside and circle around and over the bridge," Lamdein said.

A TxDOT spokesperson says they're working through those glitches now.

The new technology on the signs is already helping give drivers more accurate wait times, and the signs have other uses, too. Last week, the signs detailed closed ferry operations.

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