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Cap Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson (right), Austin City Councilman Chris Riley (center) & Bike Austin Executive Director Tom Wald (left)

Cap Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson (right), Austin City Councilman Chris Riley (center) & Bike Austin Executive Director Tom Wald (left)

The evolution of Capital Metro’s commitment to a walkable, bicycle-friendly, connected region continued Friday, August 02, 2013 as the urban trail connecting Crestview and Highland stations officially opened. The nearly one-mile long trail, created in conjunction with the City of Austin, connects transit hubs, businesses and the forthcoming Austin Community College (ACC) Highland Campus.

“The Crestview/Highland trail is really about connections and Capital Metro has been working hard to develop a comprehensive regional system, through efforts like Project Connect, to address the needs of a growing region,” said President/CEO Linda S. Watson. “Providing sustainable, safer transportation options like this trail extend the reach of the transit system and encourage healthy habits that will improve the quality of our communities. It also means we can offer more choices for people to get out of traffic and navigate the community in other ways.”

Joined by partners including the City of Austin, who displayed a demo of the forthcoming bike share program, Bike Austin, Bike Texas and CAMPO, the event showcased the best of what collaboration can do to create meaningful, useful solutions for everyone.

Also attending the trail opening were the Texas Rollergirls (who have their season-ending bout on August 10th. If you take Cap Metro to the Austin Convention Center for the finale, you can still receive $5 off at the door), Movability Austin, and Commute Solutions. Additionally, the Mexic-Arte Museum and Creative Action contributed with “art bikes” to help celebrate.

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Capital Metro was recognized at an ABJ event in March for our employee wellness initiatives. From L to R: Wellness Program Manager Tim Kelly, Humana Market Practice Leader Tom Silliman, Capital Metro Risk Manager Mike Nyren, and Capital Metro Chief of Staff Gerardo Castillo.

Capital Metro was recognized at an ABJ event in March for our employee wellness initiatives. From L to R: Wellness Program Manager Tim Kelly, Humana Market Practice Leader Tom Silliman, Capital Metro Risk Manager Mike Nyren, and Capital Metro Chief of Staff Gerardo Castillo.

Capital Metro remains one of Central Texas’ healthiest employers. Our employee wellness initiatives were recognized in March at an event hosted by the Austin Business Journal and sponsored by Central Health, Humana, RunTex and the Mayor’s Health & Fitness Council.

You’ve heard us talk before about our award-winning wellness program. The program began in 2003 and has been successful in curbing the escalating healthcare costs all companies have faced over time. In fact, for every dollar invested in our wellness program, Capital Metro gets a return on investment of about $2.43 in healthcare savings and a reduction in employee absenteeism.

Some of the elements of the program include four 24-hour onsite wellness centers, free personal training, free nutrition counseling with a registered dietitian  onsite weight loss and tobacco-cessation classes, healthy cafeteria, and a bike loan program, just to name a few. Our Wellness team maintains a public facebook page, and it’s a great resource for healthy recipes, exercises and inspiration. Check it out.

In January, Capital Metro completed its move to becoming 100% tobacco free. Also new: Capital Metro now extends its nutrition counseling and workout classes to employees’ household members, too.

If all of this sounds great to you, perhaps you’d like to join the Capital Metro team? Check out our job board for administrative jobs at Capital Metro. If you’re interested in working for one of our service providers as a bus operator or mechanic, Check out the “Jobs with our Contractors” section on the Contact Us webpage.

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Capital Metro has partnered with other transit agencies in the central Texas region, like the City of Austin, CAMPO and the Lone Star Rail District to create a plan for regional high-capacity transit.

What would that look like?

Imagine a series of components like urban rail, commuter rail (like MetroRail), Rapid service, and express lanes where all services support one another in a network, easing access throughout the region.

Sounds nice, right? Well, it looks even better. Check out this detailed vision map with all the system elements to help you share our vision for how to create a connected central Texas.

vision_map

(Download PDF version)

Now, you too can view the full details of the Project Connect transportation plan and partnership at ConnectCentralTexas.com.

But, wait there’s more!

Well, now that the vision has come together, the partners want your feedback. What do you think?

It’s your chance to share your thoughts at any of the following opportunities:

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 5 – 8 p.m. Seton Medical Center Hays (Cafeteria), 6001 Kyle Parkway, Kyle, TX.

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Austin Energy (Assembly Room); 721 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX.

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 5 – 8 p.m. Williamson Conference Center, 209 N. IH-35 Frontage Road, Round Rock, TX.

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 12 – 1 p.m. Webinar – Register online at ConnectCentralTexas.com/get-involved.

The Project Connect partners also invite the public to participate in an ongoing online discussion regarding the regional transit vision.

Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications are provided upon request.  Please call 512-369-6201 or email info@ConnectCentralTexas.com for more information.

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Capital Metro CEO Mike Martinez is at the helm of the Transparency Bus.

Capital Metro Board Chairman Mike Martinez is at the helm of the Transparency Bus.

Capital Metro has been awarded—for the third year in a row—the Texas Comptroller’s highest rating for its financial transparency efforts. Yesterday, we unveiled a unique “transparency bus” to remind the community—(you)—they can track every dollar Capital Metro spends on our website.

Senator Kirk Watson noted in a statement, “Capital Metro has done a ton of hard work over the past three years to transform itself into a model of best practices…Capital Metro’s work shows a continued commitment to being accountable on current and future investments in our comprehensive transportation system.”

CEO Linda Watson issued the following open letter to the community yesterday.

December 4, 2012
Greetings.

Capital Metro is seriously transparent. That was the message I conveyed today, along with Austin City Councilman and Capital Metro Chairman Mike Martinez, and Legislative Director for Senator Kirk Watson, Sandy Guzman, at a news conference announcing that Capital Metro has been awarded the highest financial transparency rating—for the third year in a row—from the Texas Comptroller.

We were the first transit system in the state to receive a gold transparency rating.

Capital Metro posts a wealth of financial information (more…)

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On Saturday, Sept. 29, (10 a.m. – 12 noon) the Austin Poetry Society will announce the Poetry with Wheels contest winning poems at Nature’s Treasures, 4103 North IH-35. The winning poems, like this one below will be posted onboard Capital Metro’s entire fleet of buses in October.

- 70 poets entered
- 314 poems submitted
- 20 poems selected (both English and Spanish) for display on buses 

The first five completed poetry signs for installation on Capital Metro buses will be unveiled. The event is hosted in conjunction with the Austin International Poetry Festival, a four-day event taking place Sept. 27-30, at venues throughout Austin that attracts hundreds of poets from all over the world. The event is free and open to the public.

Capital Metro partnered with the Austin Poetry Society (APS) to bring poetry onboard its buses. 

“The partnership with Austin Poetry Society will provide a lasting benefit for our riders, who can be delighted every time they board one of our buses with thoughtful, artistic poetry,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson. “Capital Metro supports the arts and has been exploring avenues of incorporating more art on our fleet and at our facilities.” 

Riders should begin to enjoy the poems onboard buses beginning in October, when the first batch of 420 signs will be installed across the bus fleet. The signs will feature 10 winning poems submitted in the contest and an additional two poems penned by Austin elementary students in a separate APS partnership with Badgerdog Literary Publications. The Austin Poetry Society anticipates producing a second batch of signs featuring another 12 poems next spring.

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You may have heard about our MetroRapid groundbreaking yesterday…maybe you’ve also been one of the early birds to watch our new YouTube video…below:

But, do you know that Capital Metro has two Austin Film Festival badges to give away? It’s true! How can you snag one? Click here Our contest is ongoing until Sept. 30!

We want to see your transit-inspired artwork. It doesn’t have to be fancy or require an extreme amount of work. Think about what transit means to you…Where do you ride to? How many places have you been to on the bus? Where are you looking forward to riding MetroRail? Take a picture, Instagram it, draw something, sketch, doodle, crayon, stamp, collage, etc. Anyway you want.

Once you have your idea and have a creation, take a picture of it and upload to our Facebook contest page. Take this for example:

Here’s an example I of a picture I took on 9/11 of a bus, then added filters. Preface: I have no artistic talent to claim!

It’s that simple. Capture a transit moment and submit it. After we have some entries on our Facebook page, others will be able to vote on each photo. The earlier you submit, the more time you have to wrangle-in those votes!
Start now!

We’ll award the top two entries. Each of our winners gets one Austin Film Fest badge! Each badge is worth over $100 bucks.

Now, go onto our Facebook page and look for the green tab at the top and enter your art baby.

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We need your input!

Capital Metro is proposing changes on several routes in accordance with our Service Guidelines & Standards. These changes are being proposed to improve transit access, efficiency and reliability. These proposals will go before the Capital Metro Board of Directors on September 24, 2012. If approved, these changes would take effect Sunday, January 13, 2013.

Capital Metro is making several changes to routes in South Austin, Northeast Austin, and Northcross areas. Visit our website now for a complete list and maps of the proposed January 2013 service changes and details about how to give us your feedback. The proposed route realignments, extensions and adjustments would improve efficiency, service coverage and increase ridership without an increase in cost.

We want to hear from you! All riders are encouraged to join public involvement opportunities listed below and provide your feedback. Capital Metro will conduct a series of public meetings, a webinar and public hearing. See our service change webpage for schedule details. Become involved, join the conversation and comment on specific proposals in efforts to provide effective services that meet the Austin area’s transportation needs!

Upcoming Public Involvement Dates:

Sept. 4, 2012, 12:00 – 2 p.m.
Capital Metro Transit Store, 323 Congress Ave.
Served by downtown routes

Sept. 4, 2012, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
North Village Branch Library
2505 Steck Ave
Served by routes 3, 325

 Sept. 5, 2012, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

University Hills Branch Library, 4721 Loyola Ln.

Served by routes 20, 37, 323

Sept. 5, 2012, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
ACC South Austin Campus, 1820 W. Stassney Ln.
Served by routes 3, 311

Webinar

Sept. 7, 2012, 12:00 p.m.
Sign-up today

If you require captioning to participate in this event, please select the link below. You may need to resize the window to view both the caption and the presentation simultaneously.

Link to webinar caption service

Public Hearing with the Capital Metro Board

 Sept. 17, 2012, 5:00 p.m.

Capital Metro Headquarters, 2910 E. 5th Street
Served by routes 17, 300

For opportunities to continue providing input to our system, please visit capmetro.icanmakeitbetter.com, email feedback@capmetro.org, or call 512-474-1200.

Thank you for riding Capital Metro!

–Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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Today the new Capital Metro bike shelters, MetroBike, were featured in a very positive Austin American-Statesman editorial “Capital Metro’s rail service welcomes cyclists.”

Here is an excerpt of the article: “The last thing most Capital Metro rail commuters want to see during morning or evening rush hours is a passenger boarding with a bicycle in tow. A single commuter who brings along a bicycle on the MetroRail takes the space of four people. When it’s standing-room only, as most trains are during peak hours, bicycles have had to yield…Bike shelters by themselves won’t address the Austin area’s growing demand for transportation alternatives. But they help expand options, and that is a good thing.

Capital Metro will be holding the MetroBike Grand Opening this Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, at 9:15 a.m. at the Kramer Station. We’ll be offering tours of the MetroBike shelter, guest speakers, and refreshments. Join us! Visit our MetroBike webpage for more details: http://www.capmetro.org/metrobike/.

To read the full Austin American-Statesman article, visit: http://ow.ly/d9CCS

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Three times a year, Capital Metro looks at what can be done to better our overall transit system. Starting Sunday, Aug. 19, Capital Metro will introduce changes to service, designed to create more efficient routes and improve overall system service. Capital Metro constantly analyzes routes and evaluates customer feedback. Three times a year, Capital Metro makes these needed changes that are in accordance with Capital Metro’s Service Guidelines and Standards to create a better system.

Service changes will include:

Route Realignments  Capital Metro will realign two services:

o        30 Barton Creek  Will no longer service the Barton Hills/Hollow Creek neighborhood due to low ridership. Frequency in the Spyglass neighborhood will be improved from 70 to 35 minutes.

o        323 Anderson  Will be realigned from Ed Bluestein to Springdale and Tuscany to improve coverage.

Night Owl Routes  Several routes will be realigned to improve directness and reduce travel time. Frequency will be improved on routes 483, 484, 485 and 486. Night Owl service will no longer be available along south Manchaca, west William Cannon, South 1st, Braker, Springdale, 7th and Cesar Chavez due to low ridership.

o        481 Night Owl North  Will be renamed 481 Night Owl North Lamar.

o        482 Night Owl East  Will be consolidated with Route 485 Night Owl Cameron. (Refer to new Route 485 for more details)

o        483 Night Owl Southeast  Will be realigned to Riverside, Burton, Oltorf and Wickersham. Frequency will be improved from 60 to 30 minutes. Route will be renamed 483 Night Owl Riverside.

o        484 Night Owl S. Lamar/S. 1st  Will be realigned to serve only the South Lamar area. Frequency will be improved from 60 to 30 minutes. Route will be renamed 484 Night Owl South Lamar.

o        485 Night Owl Cameron  Will be realigned to Rosewood, Airport, Mueller, 51st, Cameron and Rutherford (Wal-Mart). Frequency will be improved from 60 to 30 minutes.

o        486 Night Owl Dove Springs  Will be realigned to South Congress, Stassney, PleasantValley and William Cannon. Frequency will be improved from 60 to 30 minutes. Route will be renamed 486 Night Owl South Congress.

UT Shuttles  Route and schedule adjustments will be made to the following University of Texas Shuttles:

o        641 EC East Campus  Midday frequency will be reduced from 7 to 10 minutes during fall and spring semesters.

o        652 PRC Pickle Research Campus  Frequency will be reduced from 35 to 60 minutes during fall and spring semesters. Route will be realigned within the Pickle Research campus.

o        675 WL Wickersham Lane– Midday frequency will be reduced from 15 to 20 minutes during fall, spring and finals.

Minor schedule adjustments will be made to the following routes to improve reliability:

o        4 Montopolis

o        7 Duval/Dove Springs

o        19 Bull Creek

o        30 Barton Creek

o        101 N. Lamar/S. Congress

o        151 Allandale

o        243 Wells Branch

o        323 Anderson

o        338 Lamar/45th

o        383 Research

o        466 Kramer

Select school-related trips will be reinstated or added to the following routes:

o        4 Montopolis

o        5 Woodrow/South Fifth

o        7 Duval/Dove Springs

o        300 Govalle

o        325 Ohlen

o        331 Oltorf

o        333 William Cannon

o        E-Bus routes, 410, 411 and 412

All of the changes, in addition to route schedules and maps, can be found in the Destinations schedule book, available for $3 at the Capital Metro Transit Store. The Transit Store is located at 323 Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. The guide is also downloadable at no cost on the Capital Metro website.

Details on the service change process can also be found on the Capital Metro website or by viewing this video.

August 2012 Service Change details also available in Spanish. (En Español)

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You see our bus drivers as the ones who take you from home to work or even downtown on a Friday night. But, our operators have so much more going on. We want to show you how great they are outside of work too!

So, meet Mr. Randy Rohr. Bus operator by day, fitness enthusiast and filmmaker by night. A renaissance man really, he’s been at Capital Metro for 26 years.

In March, the Austin Business Journal named Capital Metro as Central Texas’ healthiest employer. Randy is a prime example of our dedication to wellness. He was Capital Metro’s June Wellness Champion of the Month.

“My life is always full of changes and events. It is life. There isn’t one thing that happened to me, it was a bunch of little things: car accident, friends getting older, losing aunt and uncle, noticing that I need to get back into a healthier lifestyle. It was a gradual change back to the journey of healthy.”

Randy lives by the motto that you only have one life to live and you should live it fully. You see that passion for life when you look at the other things he’s accomplished. He has also produced a film, “Earth Day Every Day” earlier this year.

(Earth Day Every Day 2012 on Vimeo)

He was even been featured in the Westlake Picayune after his film was entered into a local film contest.

“Rohr’s film made it through several rounds of competition online and at screenings in Austin. It was one of two films chosen from among 78 entries from Austin. “Earth Day, Every Day” went up against 15 other films chosen from among hundreds from around the country. He credits his fans with getting him through the competition.”

Friends and even strangers have a lot to say about Randy, they left their thoughts on the Westlake Picayune article comment section:

  1. Kristin Rohr Bruce says:
    I’m very proud to say, “This is my brother!”. He’s inspired me in so many ways over the years. He loves life and lives it with no regrets, always eager and willing to help his loved ones and any stranger that he may meet.
  2. Rita Gonsalez Bush says:
    I have worked with Randy for over 20 years, and he is the same kind caring person as the day we met. He sees the good in people and always willing to lend a hand. He always spreads joy with his contagious laughter.
  3. William McLeod says:
    Like Rita, I have known Randy for close to 25 years. He is a very pleasant and agrreable young man. He doesn’t just treat the planet nice, he treats people that way too. Kudos to you Mr. Rohr.
  4. Will Goodin says:
    Unlike Rita and Kristin (above) I’ve never met Randy, but I think he’s pretty cool. This article reminded me to always keep in mind that every food server, bus driver, store clerk and switchboard operator I interact with is also person with a a whole other life and should be treated with respect.

We say: Randy is a rock star.

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