Archive for the ‘safety’ Category

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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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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Capital Metro has partnered with the Austin Police Department, The City of Austin and BeKindtoCyclists.org this month to promote bicycle safety during National Bike Month.

We’re sharing this bike safety video with our bus operators. Take a look below and keep these tips in mind for those (rare) occasions when you drive versus taking Capital Metro.

Commuting cyclist? Check out our bike+transit safety tips:

  • Always approach the bus from the curb. Never ride around to the front of a bus from the street side.
  • Please don’t wait in the street with your bike as the bus approaches.
  • Before stepping in front of the bus to load your bike, make eye contact with the bus operator.
  • Always load and unload your bicycle directly in front of the bus, or from the curb.
  • After unloading your bike, never cross in front of the bus! Wait until it has left the stop.

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The checkered flags are ready and tickets to the race are sold out as Formula 1 races into Austin this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, bringing in a record number of visitors to Central Texas.

But, local organization, Restore a Voice says the international stage also brings an elevated threat of human trafficking this week.

To raise awareness, Restore a Voice has partnered with Capital Metro to bring six of these ads to the public:

1 Formula 4 Freedom. Racing to Stop Human Trafficking.

If you’re looking to pay for company we’re already booked you a room.

And 50 of these, viewable inside Capital Metro buses:

All ads will be up through December 31.

Larry Megason, executive director of Restore a Voice told us that he hopes folks seeing the ads will gain awareness of the human trafficking is happening in Austin, even during Formula 1.

Larry Megason, Restore a Voice executive director

“We hope that it will drive people to our website where they can get some information about (human trafficking) that is happening in our city and globally,” Megason said. “There is an issue in our city and we want people to know about it.”

As listed on the ads, the U.S. National Human Trafficking hotline is available at 888.373.7888

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Looking to revel downtown on New Year’s Eve this year? Capital Metro, in partnership with the Austin Police Department, wants to help you ring in the new year safely, and we’re offering FREE Night Owl service on New Year’s Eve.

Ride a regular local bus to downtown that night for $1, and catch a free return ride via one of six Night Owl bus routes, which begin service at midnight and run til after 3 a.m. Catch one of these buses at 6th and Congress, with service to neighborhoods throughout town.

This means your transportation costs for New Year’s Eve can max out at a mere $1–the cost of a one-way fare via Capital Metro’s regular local routes. Yes! No parking fees, no circling the block looking for a meter, and no worrying about the dangers of being out on the road that night.

You can plan your trip with our online trip planner, and check out the Night Owl maps, too, to see if our late night service will work for you.

APD is stepping up its DWI enforcement. Don’t chance it! If you’re flying late on New Year’s, get on the Night Owl.

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Moment of Remembrance

This Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Capital Metro is joining many other transit authorities throughout the nation to observe a moment of remembrance to honor those who died as a result of those attacks.  At precisely 12 noon on Sunday, all Capital Metro buses and MetroAccess vehicles will pull over and observe a moment of silence, and we invite riders to participate as well.

Our President/CEO Linda S. Watson said,  “America changed on Sept. 11, 2001, and the transportation industry changed along with it. On Sunday we will give our customers and employees an opportunity to honor those who lost their lives and remind everyone that we all play an important role in keeping our communities safe by reporting any suspicious activity.”

A lot of things have changed since 9/11. One of the many programs initiated at the national level after 9/11 is Transit Watch, a program started by the Federal Transit Administration in 2003. It’s basically Neighborhood Watch on wheels (or rails): the program encourages the active participation of transit passengers and employees in maintaining a safe transit environment. Transit Watch also helps foster the role of transit as a safe haven in communities across the country. (more…)

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Safety gone wild

Capital Metro’s serious about safety, but things got a little silly this week when our safety manager James Hoskins showed up for morning pullout on Thursday with a bright blue Mohawk  (technically, it was a faux hawk, but still…) to recognize the achievement of a safety milestone.

From L to R: Bus Operators Brenda Moore, Richard Thomas, Annette Kirschbaum, Ken Daniels; Interim Safety Manager James Hoskins; Bus Operators Reggie Dugue, DeAndra Scypion; MetroAccess Van Operator Daniel Rodriguez; Bus Operator Lagretta Landry.

Earlier in August, StarTran drivers (bus, MetroAccess sedan and van) had three full days without an accident. You may not think that is such a big deal, but when you consider just how many thousands of miles Capital Metro travels each day (the majority of which is during rush hour traffic), it is a major achievement.

James had issued a challenge to the workforce sometime last year: if drivers went a full three days without an accident, he’d fashion his hair into a blue Mohawk for a week. They did it, and therefore he did it.

” Capital Metro operators have challenging jobs that require constant attention and focus,” James said. “I promised them a blue Mohawk, and frankly I’m thrilled to be able to follow through with it to recognize their dedication to driving safely.”

Check out a few more photos on Facebook.

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Tonight, Capital Metro and first responders from throughout the area will participate in an emergency drill to test our collective preparedness for dealing with a MetroRail derailment.

A scene from another MetroRail emergency simulation, in January 2009

The scenario goes like this: A MetroRail train derails for unknown reasons on a remote section of track somewhere between Leander and Lakeline stations. Railroad dispatch is unable to reach the engineer. Calls to 9-1-1 (using a back number–not tying up the actual emergency line) begin coming in from people on the train and from people in the closest neighborhood, who have heard the accident. Some of the callers will give conflicting information about the location of the train.

So the first challenge for responders will be pinpointing the exact location of the train, and once found, determining what equipment might be needed to access the vehicle. Since the location of the accident will be in an area where many jurisdictions come together, several different groups will be participating:  city of Austin, Cedar Park, Williamson County, Jollyville,  Travis County and Round Rock. Who’s in charge? They’ll have to establish that, too, and then get to the task at hand of evacuating the train, treating injuries, etc. (more…)

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Fear, sadness, anger and frustration. Those are just a few of the emotions I feel when I see or hear about children playing on railroad tracks. Take a look at what we saw on the security cameras at Highland Station yesterday:

This little guy had a hard time climbing back onto the platform



It is NEVER acceptable to play on railroad tracks


I won’t elaborate on why this is dangerous and illegal. But if you’re a parent, please think of your own children. Staying safe around railroad tracks is an important lesson for the whole family.


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