Holiday Shopping for the Transit RiderShopping for the holidays can be both fun and stressful. Sometimes it is hard to narrow down the perfect gifts for your friends or family. Do you have a transit rider on your shopping list? Look no further! Capital Metro has put together this convenient list: Top 10 Gifts for the Transit Rider. It gives you many options to choose the perfect gifts for your loved ones.

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Art helps to make Austin a vibrant city. Although Austin is known as the live music capital of the world, creativity takes other forms, as well, through personal expression, fashion, dance, theater and visual arts.

On Sunday, October 18, Gerardo Castillo, senior vice-president and chief of staff at Capital Metro, joined Karen LaShelle, executive and artistic director of Creative Action, to celebrate the unveiling of a painted mural in the Chestnut neighborhood of East Austin. The mural, titled “Map Your Roots/Routes,” honors the history of, and uniquely identifies, the neighborhood near MetroRail’s MLK Station.

2015-10-18 Creative Action Mural

Gerardo Castillo poses with students from the Creative Action in front of the “Map Your Roots/Routes” mural.

“We are excited to see this neighborhood getting the revitalization and recognition it deserves,” remarked Castillo, who also thanked Creative Action for its leadership and Color Squad for producing the beautiful piece that can now be enjoyed by riders and the community for years to come.

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We all know getting around Austin can be difficult. Traffic in the city is inevitable and parking can cost you an arm and a leg, especially on the weekends. Capital Metro is offering a solution for those who want to save money on driving and parking and enjoy time at their favorite Austin hangout.Cap_Metro_Urban Adventures

Capital Metro has created five “urban adventures”people can take using MetroRapid to some of Austin’s hottest locales:

  • SoCo on Congress beyond the river is home to such must-visit restaurants as Home Slice Pizza and Hopdoddy Burger Bar, and also eclectic shops like Uncommon Objects and
    Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, food trucks, and music and art venues. Served by MetroRapid 801.
  • Auditorium Shores features the Long Center of Performing Arts, Butler Park, Threadgills, and the volleyball courts at Aussie’s Grill and Beach Bar. Served by MetroRapid 801.
  • Lo-Burn features delicious eats such as Pinthouse Pizza and Lucy’s Fried Chicken, antique and collectible shops, and cool hangouts like the Little Longhorn Saloon and Phil’s Ice House. Served by MetroRapid 803.
  • Warehouse District, located in downtown Austin, is bustling with new businesses and eats like Gordoughs and the Ginger Man, the Violet Crown Movie Theater and the Second Street Shopping District. Served by MetroRapid 801 and 803.
  • The Domain, anchored by Dillard’s, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus, also houses the Apple Store, Whole Foods Market, Anthropologie and H&M, as well as fun hangouts like Punch Bowl Social, iPic Theaters and Top Golf. Served by MetroRapid 803.

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budget_coverCapital Metro proposes a new budget every September to guide the agency’s upcoming fiscal year, October 1 through September 30. Yesterday, the board voted unanimously on its $357.2 million budget for Fiscal Year 2016 and Capital Improvement Plan.

The budget includes $246.3 million for operating expenses and $110.9 million for capital projects. The budget is balanced, and meets statutory operating reserve requirements.

Major investments would include:

  • Adding express service on MoPac managed lanes.
  • Maintaining high-frequency bus routes.
  • Making significant investments in replacing buses and vans for MetroBus and MetroAccess.

In addition, the adopted budget positions Capital Metro to begin the double tracking and other rail improvements along the Red Line that will double frequency and capacity on MetroRail. It also includes funding to increase capacity at the Lakeline and Howard Park & Rides, and continue the agency’s work with cities outside the current service area to provide much-needed transportation service to some of the fastest growing areas in the region, including Georgetown, Pflugerville, Round Rock, Hutto and Buda.

The budget reflects a fund balance projection of $97.2 million by the end of FY2016. Of this amount, Capital Metro plans to set aside $36 million in reserves for two months of operating expenses, which meets the level set forth by the Texas Legislature, $1 million for a self-insurance reserve, $26 million for City of Austin mobility programs and $7 million to begin funding a budget stabilization reserve. Using this approach will leave $27.2 million for state of good repair projects and future capital investments, such as new bus purchases to support expanded service and additional MetroRapid stations, all necessary improvements. The board also approved Capital Metro’s updated five-year capital improvement plan.



Capital Metro’s January 2016 Service Changes and its Service Guidelines & Standards were also approved unanimously by the Capital Metro board.

The service changes are designed to improve the rider experience while also maintaining system efficiency and expanding service. The changes will go into effect January 10, 2016.

Capital Metro’s Service Guidelines and Standards provide a set of criteria by which services can be assessed and informed decisions can be made regarding transit resource allocation. This document, updated on a biennial basis, reflects the agency’s mission and goals of providing both efficient and equitable transit services and will go in effect immediately.

For more information about all items approved by the board, visit capmetro.org or call the GO Line at 512-474-1200.

Two Timer LogoTraffic congestion in Central Texas is bad and getting worse. Drivers stuck in traffic on I-35 or MoPac know this only too well. In fact, Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s recently released Urban Mobility Scorecard shows that in 2014 a peak-hour trip in the Austin area took 33 percent longer than that same trip would take in less congested traffic.

Furthermore, the Austin Mobility Report, published by the Austin Chamber of Commerce in 2013, shows that traffic will worsen significantly in the coming years if people don’t shift from riding in single occupancy vehicles. The study noted that 74,000 people driving alone each day during rush hour would need to move into alternate modes of transportation in the coming years just to keep traffic flowing as it is today!

HectorThat’s why Capital Metro has launched a new initiative we hope you’ll try: leave your car at home and take transit twice a week, or in other words, become a regular “Two-Timer.” If you’re not sure how to take public transportation in Austin, no worries. We’re happy to show you just how fun and easy it can be. Three videos show how easy it is to use the CapMetro App to plan and pay for your trip, and monitor in real-time when the next bus will depart—all designed to provide new levels of flexibility and convenience. Continue Reading »

This is the first in a series of Capital Metro blog posts on its Service Plan.

Think Capital Metro plans your bus routes in a pitch-black, dark room? The reality is, our system planning is methodical and deliberate, and we meaningfully incorporate your feedback year-round. However, our system might serve our community better if reworked, and we need your help along the way, so let’s rethink this whole thing together.

The Problem

You know as well as we do that Central Texas is bursting at the seams and will continue to experience explosive growth—it’s the new norm. What’s less in vogue is auto-dependency and the daily traffic we sit in, plus a system-wide decline in ridership.

Over the past two years, ridership has declined over 5%. We take this very seriously and we want to know why. (We’ll discuss ridership in detail in an upcoming blog post.)

We take even more seriously our community’s access to opportunity and how our system connects us to an affordable, livable and fun way of life in the place we call home. Every five years, Capital Metro updates what we call a service plan, or comprehensive system analysis, that spans ten years and guides the agency’s tri-annual service changes. It’s 2015, and Capital Metro’s service plan is due for an update since its last refresh in 2010.

Looking Ahead

Capital Metro’s plan will focus on goals established by its board of directors and informed by community-driven feedback that balance difficult trade-offs while prioritizing fiscal responsibility. The agency aims to utilize both innovative and proven solutions to help create a more effective and integrated system to address transportation challenges in our ever-growing region.

During the year-long service planning process, Capital Metro, together with its consultant team, will lead a robust public involvement process where we need you involved along the way. But first, Capital Metro needs to blend its ideas for engagement opportunities with Transportation Management and Design’s. So, give us a few weeks to bring our new consultant onboard, then we’ll announce our public involvement plan. Expect more info here and on our website as it becomes available.

For more information on the consultant awarded on Sept. 14 to help us in this process, visit capmetro.org.

wheelchair on busThis month marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which has greatly improved and expanded accessibility and independence for individuals with disabilities.

Capital Metro Was First in Texas to Achieve 100 Percent Vehicle Accessibility

As the first fully accessible fixed-route bus fleet in Texas, Capital Metro has achieved many milestones since taking delivery of its first lift-equipped buses in 1986. Since then, every Capital Metro vehicle put into service has been 100 percent accessible, with lift, ramp access and “kneeling” capabilities to lower buses to facilitate boarding.

All vehicles provide convenient access and securement areas for passengers who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices, and seating in the front of vehicles is reserved for seniors 65 and over, persons in wheelchairs, or other passengers with disabilities.

BrailleMetroRail trains offer level boarding, spoken onboard announcements and station ticket vending machines featuring Braille and audio features. MetroRapid Route 801 and 803 vehicles are also fully ADA compliant, with push-button annunciators at stations and wheelchair securement areas, equipped with companion seating. Braille signage is now also available at all Local bus stops. Continue Reading »


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