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Archive for the ‘MetroRail’ Category

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The Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix is returning to Austin Nov. 15 – 17, and Capital Metro is in on the action! 

During Formula 1’s premiere in Austin in 2012, the total weekend attendance was over 260,000. As a result of its expanded MetroRail service last year, Capital Metro saw a dramatic surge in weekend ridership, including a 435 percent increase over a typical Saturday.

This year, F1 fans can again take advantage of Capital Metro’s expanded MetroRail service during the weekend.  Trains will operate from northwest Austin to downtown on the following schedule:

  • Friday, Nov. 15: 6 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. (Saturday morning)
  • Saturday, Nov. 16: 8 a.m. – Midnight (Service to all MetroRail stations except Leander)
  • Sunday, Nov. 17: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Service to all MetroRail stations except Leander)

MetroRail’s route is divided into two fare zones. The cost to ride one zone is $1, or $2.75 if you cross the fare zone boundary between Howard and Kramer stations. You can buy a MetroRail pass at ticket vending machines on station platforms or at the Transit Store, located downtown at 209 W. 9th Street.

The Nov. 15 – 17 weekend will prove to be a busy one, not only because of F1 but also because of Austin Fan Fest and the Nov. 16 UT football game. Buses will run as usual throughout the weekend, though riders can expect some route changes in the downtown area. Detours will begin on Nov. 14. Access all downtown routes – with the exception of MetroAirport – along Guadalupe and Lavaca from Nov. 15 – 18.

MetroAirport service from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to downtown will run its regular schedule from early in the morning until late at night.

Plan your fun! Find the latest F1-related transit information including routes, schedules, detours and a helpful trip planner at capmetro.org/f1.

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Capital Metro President & CEO Linda S. Watson is by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

Capital Metro President & CEO Linda S. Watson with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx following the announcement of Capital Metro’s TIGER Grant award.

Thursday marked a historic day for Capital Metro. Joined by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Capital Metro President and CEO, Capital Metro Board Chair Mike Martinez and Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, announced that Capital Metro was a recipient of an $11.3-million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant.

The grant will enable Capital Metro to advance a number of rail improvements, including increasing the speed at which MetroRail trains operate, and beginning or completing several state-of-good- repair projects. Additionally, the funding will provide operational flexibility for future service enhancements.

The $11.3-million TIGER grant will support several commuter and freight rail enhancements at Capital Metro, including:

• Railway and signal timing improvements that will help reduce vehicle delays and rail traffic congestion.

• Commuter rail improvements, including additional sidings and double tracking in the most critical areas, which are projected to increase ridership capacity by 15 percent and reduce commute times by five to ten minutes.

• Freight rail enhancements, including the replacement of several bridges, and rail rehabilitation and realignments that will increase speeds and enhance safety while doubling freight capacity and improving reliability.

“These TIGER projects are the best argument you can make for investment in our transportation infrastructure,” said Secretary Foxx. “Projects such as Austin’s efforts to improve its freight and passenger rail network, ensure a stronger transportation system for future generations by repairing existing infrastructure, connecting people to new jobs and opportunities, and contributing to our nation’s economic growth.”

The reality is, MetroRail ridership is booming. Since the Red Line launched in 2010, ridership is up 225%, proving if you build it, they will come.

Rail Ridership Graph

And come they have. MetroRail is now averaging over 65,000 boardings a month, with trains at full capacity during peak hours. In 2012, we saw our one millionth passenger trip and it’s very clear to that demand is only going to increase as the region continues to grow.

It’s also clear that people have come to view MetroRail as one of their best options to connect to the places and events they want to go.

Take South by Southwest as an example. MetroRail first served the annual conference in 2011 and since then, ridership has increased by over 65%. But it’s not just SXSW — During the inaugural Formula 1 race at the Circuit of the Americas, MetroRail had nearly 14,000 boardings, including almost 2,000 on the special Sunday service that was added to accommodate the demand. We’re expecting even more demand for MetroRail when race fans return to Austin this November. Also, nearly 22,000 people have taken MetroRail to get to the popular Pecan Street Festival since 2010.

The Red Line certainly gets people moving, and gets them to the places they want to be. It also gets them there on time. Historically, MetroRail has an on-time performance record of 99%.

But it’s not just MetroRail ridership that’s increased — economic development along the Red Line is booming.

For example, Midtown Commons is a transit-oriented development located next to Crestview station. Prior to MetroRail, this area was a brownfield—which means it was a former petrochemicals plant. Now, it’s a vibrant and modern, mixed-use development that includes a brewery, retail shops, live & work units, and apartments—with an integrated transit plaza that provides easy access to a wide variety of destinations.

In fact, Midtown Commons Manager, Heidi Piper, has said they located their development at Crestview as a commitment to providing housing in transit-rich locations.

MetroRail has been a factor in more than $95-million in new development so far around Capital Metro’s nine stations, with another $283-million in various stages of development.

Capital Metro was one of 52 recipients of TIGER grants.

More than 585 applications totaling $9 billion in requests were received for this round’s availability of $474 million grants. The money is designated as investments in high-impact port, road, rail and transit projects.

MetroRail's Downtown Station

MetroRail’s Downtown Station

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transit-trainCapital Metro is among eight transit agencies that were awarded Operation Lifesaver (OLI) rail safety project grants. This grant is part of Capital Metro’s ongoing commitment to safety and will enable our agency to further our efforts in keeping safety our top priority.

 

What are our plans for the grant?

We’ll target middle school students, by blitzing them with educational materials, a youth-produced video and a 15-month outreach campaign involving peer mentors and lesson plans for educators, a new website and school outreach events.

“Capital Metro has the highest commitment to safety and is very pleased to receive an Operation Lifesaver Rail Transit Safety Education Grant, which will be used for an innovative, yearlong rail safety education program for middle school students,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson. “This grant affirms our continuing relationship with Operation Lifesaver, and will allow us to partner with Creative Action, the largest provider of after school arts programming in Central Texas, on a totally unique rail safety video that the students themselves will create. Studies show that young people are leaders in public transit usage, and this project will encourage our local students to lead the way in transit safety, as well.”

Read all about Operation Lifesaver and what the other seven agencies will do with their grants at: http://oli.org/news/view/operation-lifesaver-announces-grants-to-eight-transit-agencies

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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.

DSC_0056

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BCD 13063A Juneteenth web graphicJuneteenth* weekend is a wonderful time of family and community celebration.

Austin’s annual Juneteenth Parade and Celebration hosted by the Greater East Austin Youth Association (GEAYA) takes place on Saturday, June 15, 2013. The parade route starts at 10am on MLK and Comal, and ends at Rosewood and Chestnut.

MetroRail, Capital Metro’s commuter rail with 9 stops between Downtown Austin and Leander, runs through a portion of Rosewood Park. The parade ends before the railroad crossing, and with a mix of physical barriers and personnel staffing, our security, safety, and community involvement teams work closely with the City of Austin, Austin Police Department and others to ensure celebration participants have safe passage as they travel to/from the parade route to festivities at Doris Miller and Rosewood Park.

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Shakespeare wrote:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…”

Haul Pass logo

The summer, the Haul Pass, a new fare card for youth 18 and under, gives teens (and kids) unlimited bus and rail rides all summer long, plus discounts at Go Local partner businesses.

Austin is the stage. The Haul Pass is your ticket. What role will you play?

  • The Professional
    • Heads to a summer job, an internship, or volunteer work.
    • Checks the trip planner on the computer the night before work to plan the day. Always arrives 5 to 10 minutes before the scheduled departure.
    • Scans the QR code on the bus stop or texts the cross-streets or Stop ID to Dadnab (512-981-6221) to find out the next departure time
    • Keeps on budget, uses GoLocal discounts for food and well earned entertainment after a hard day at work.
  • The Scholar
  • systemmapcoverThe Explorer
  • The Artist
  • Community Organizer
    • Stays connected. #textingwhileriding
    • Searches newspapers and blogs for calendar listings of guest speakers and author talks and uses the trip planner to figure out how to get from spot to spot.
    • Keeps up with Project Connect (regional partnership exploring high-capacity transit options in Central Texas)
    • Gets friends to carpool to a Park and Ride, then journey together via Capital Metro to Barton Springs, parks and recreation centers, the mall, the movies, etc.
    • Supports local businesses, checking Go Local for businesses near destinations.
    • Convinces a parent into to try riding transit to work for a day, and consider joining a vanpool for commute. Or takes a family outing using the bus or train, like a ride across town for lunch with a grandparent, aunt or uncle.
  • The Athlete
    • An expert on loading a bike onto onboard bikeracks on MetroBus or MetroRailKnows how to do on the spot repairs after having built 2 bikes from scratch for free at Yellow Bike Project.
    • Crosstrains throughout the summer hiking, biking, swimming, boating, jogging and mixing it up with a little frisbee and hula hooping for kicks.
    • Walks to a bus stop or rail station to get that pedometer walking mileage in. 
    • Find lots of businesses on Go Local offering discounts for fitness and wellness, like yoga classes and rock climbing.
    • Explores Town Lake, Zilker Park, Pease Park, the YMCA, Austin Parks and Recreation, and more.
    • Uses the trip planner to figure out the best routes to get to practices, games, and the gym on time.
  • The Environmentalist.

The great thing about being a teen is you can be all these things. No need to permanently decide which route to take. And with unlimited bus and rail trips, you don’t have to.

So where will your Haul Pass take you this summer?

Tweet your adventures #haulpass

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Haul Pass logo

The countdown has begun. School’s almost out. Parent and teens, it’s time to get ready for summer.

Whether it’s time for volunteering, working summer jobs,  internships, taking summer courses; or it’s time for play–attending summer camp, participating in recreational sports or arts activities; or it’s time to chill–with a dip in the pool, relaxing with a good book, grabbing a bite to eat and hanging out with friends and family–Capital Metro can help get you to the places you want and need to go.

Let us introduce you to the Haul Pass, our new summer fare card for students 18 and under.

Front of Hall Pass fare card

Haul Pass Features:

  • UNLIMITED Bus & Rail rides
  • 1 pass lasts three summer months
  • Go Local discounts
  • Valid June 1 – August 31
  • A great value at $45 (for a $96 fare card)
Limited quantity sold for a limited time only, so get them while they last!
The Haul Pass is available online at www.capmetro.org/haulpass or at the Transit Store, 323 Congress Avenue.

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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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Even though Halloween’s on a Wednesday, don’t let that be a drag. We know you’ve come to know the trusty E-Bus as your ride Downtown on the weekends, now take advantage of that tonight!

Capital Metro wants to help you reach the big party down as safely and conveniently as possible. That’s why we’re running E-Bus service on a Wednesday, which usually doesn’t happen, but we’re making an exception to help get all those Honey Boo Boo and Psy look-alikes to 6th Street.

Hours will be the same as E-Bus weekend service (8:30 p.m. until 3 a.m.). Catch a ride using routes #410 West Campus, #411 Riverside, and #412 Main Campus. Regular fares will apply. UT students ride free with valid school ID and ACC students ride with the Green Pass.

All you Halloween go-ers can also ride Capital Metro’s local service to and from the downtown area until around midnight. Night Owl service will run its usual schedule until 3 a.m.

We hope all our riders have a good time tonight. Use Capital Metro as your safe ride this Halloween!

We want to see all those elaborate costumes! Post your Halloween pictures as you ride transit today–rail, bus, E-Bus. Tweet them to @CapMetroATX or post to our Facebook wall!

If you’re just trying to go about your daily commute tonight: Capital Metro riders who plan to use the #4 Montopolis, #21 Exposition and #100 MetroAirport routes should take notice of anticipated 6th Street closure detours due to Halloween events from around 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. More detailed route and detour information can be found in the Capital Metro website ‘Service Alerts’ section. 

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Tweet, Tweet!

For those of you who follow our Twitter activity (or may want to), you may have noticed our recent change of account names.

In the past, we have communicated to followers using two separate Twitter accounts: CapMetroNews and CapMetroRail. Having two accounts made sense leading up to the opening of MetroRail, but now it’s just sort of confusing. People tweet us with rail-related inquiries at CapMetroNews and with bus issues at CapMetroRail. Plus, having two accounts sometimes contributes to a delay in us responding.

Going into our new fiscal year in October 1, we wanted to use that date as a benchmark for turning over a new leaf in our Communications efforts — including Twitter.

Going into the future, we have changed the name of our CapMetroRail account to @CapMetroATX. This will be our one and only account where we’ll provide bus and rail service updates as well as relevant news and rider tips. Over the next two weeks we’ll phase-out our CapMetroNews account.

We know by following one sole account, you may get more info than before. So, how can you filter the info you get notifications about, if you want?

By using certain apps, you can make settings to only get notified of certain hashtags, versus receiving all our Tweets.

We’ll be operating via these hashtags:

#MetroRailAlert: for specific delay alerts on MetroRail

#MetroBusAlert: for all bus-related service alerts

So, for example, if you began following our rail account and only wish to continue receiving rail-related messages, set-up your account to send only messages including the #MetroRailAlert hashtag.

How to set specific alerts up? This useful YouTube video helps you use TweetDeck for setting-up hashtag notifications:

If you’re not into Tweet Deck, there’s also Boxcar for push notifications as well.

This change may take some getting used to, but it’s for the better — to provide improved communications and customer service. So, jump right it, follow us at www.twitter.com/CapMetroATX.

Tweet you soon!

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