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STB-bus-placard_finalEarlier today, Dec. 10, Capital Metro joined Whole Foods Market and the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas in announcing our holiday food drive partnership–Stuff the Bus!

We have teamed up for the first time ever to ask the community to help “Stuff the Bus” to assist area residents in need during the holiday season. The food drive is being held Dec. 14-16 at Whole Foods Market in downtown Austin.

The goal of the three-day event is to fill a full-size Capital Metro bus with 20,000 pounds of non-perishable food items, benefitting the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. According to the food bank, 20,000 pounds of food equates to approximately 16,000 meals to families in need throughout the community.

“The donated food from Stuff the Bus will be a tremendous help in feeding the hungry right here in central Texas,” said Hank Perret, Capital Area Food Bank of Texas President/CEO. “We cannot thank our partners at Capital Metro and Whole Foods enough for their outstanding commitment to bettering the lives of our friends and neighbors in need this holiday season.”

Donations are welcome anytime between 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Capital Metro bus, located at the corner of 6th and Bowie in front of the Whole Foods Market culinary center entrance. Volunteers from all three organizations will be on hand to accept food items and load them onto the bus.

The food bank encourages donations of healthy, non-perishable food items, such as canned meats and tuna, canned vegetables, pasta, beans, healthy cereal and peanut butter. During the drive, participants may also purchase pre-packaged food donations at Whole Foods Market in $5, $10 and $20 increments.

“We are honored to participate in the Stuff the Bus campaign with Capital Metro and Capital Area Food Bank,” said Whole Foods Market Lamar interim store team leader Wade Taylor. “Nourishing our communities is what Whole Foods Market is passionate about, and we are excited to rally with our guests around this great cause.”

Several Capital Metro bus routes are located within a block of whole Foods Market, including:

  • #1L/1M North Lamar/South Congress
  • #3 Burnet/Manchaca
  • #4 Montopolis
  • #21/22 Exposition/Chicon
  • #101 N. Lamar/S. Congress Ltd.

“Capital Metro is so pleased to be a part of this wonderful holiday effort,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda Watson. “We’re especially looking forward to working together with our partner organizations for the benefit of all Central Texans during this very special and giving time of the year.”

The three-day event will feature live music by local bands on Friday, Dec. 14 from 5-8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15 and 16, from 12-4 p.m. at the donation site.

Capital Metro will also sponsor the Whole Foods Market Kid’s Club on Saturday and Sunday from 12-4 p.m. Employees and MetroAmbassador volunteers will be on hand to show children how to make colorful paper tree ornaments from recycled transit maps, ribbons and other materials.

People are invited to join the “Stuff the Bus” cause on Facebook or follow the event on Twitter at #StuffTheBus.

Here are a few pictures of our major partnership announcement news conference with Whole Foods Market and the Capital Area Food Bank–to see some more pics of the fun, check out our Facebook album:

The three partners coming together to announce the big food drive.

The three partners coming together to announce the big food drive.

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Capital Metro President/CEO Linda Watson being interviewed by FOX.

Capital Metro President/CEO Linda Watson being interviewed by FOX.

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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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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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MetroRail motivation

It’s hard to get motivated when you start your day stuck in a bumper-to-bumper logjam on the highway. That’s why hundreds of people attending the Get Motivated seminar at the Austin Convention Center yesterday opted to ride MetroRail instead of tangling with traffic.

Customers leaving the Get Motivated senimar wait for the train at Downtown Station

Based on preliminary figures, we provided more than 2,800 trips on the train. That’s about 1,000 more than a typical weekday. In fact, we pulled in some extra buses to pick up passengers from the rail stations since there were so many people waiting to ride. 

Here’s what some of our customers said on Twitter yesterday:

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Twitter Roundup

With all the changes that we implemented this week, now’s a good time for another Twitter roundup. Here’s a sample of what we’ve heard from you this week:

Happy Customers

@JaredThomas Day 2 of riding dt-kramer @CapMetroRail was great. Walked from the Kramer station to office in the domain. Buying the 31 day pass on Mon.

@TAPoe Yay!! A large bus for the morning 985 run! No having to stand today!

@cheekysu: @CapMetroNews Your drivers are fabulous! Really! Many kudos to the personnel department. :)

@tarpinian on my way to work, using my laptop and drinking coffee, cool

@Phish201: The mid-day service is awesome! What’s next for @capmetrorail? Evenings and weekends?! Fingers crossed!

@JRandallScott Finally expanded midday service: more dynamic and user friendly system. Next up- extended weekend night service @CapMetroRail #welldone #atx

@allendemling PS you hire great bus drivers. They are very friendly.

@impossiblecat: Taking the new @CapMetroRail downtown this afternoon – love the new times!

@KaylaATX: Waiting for the @capmetrorail to head to school. I’m so happy about the day service!!

@beazkidz: Taking the new even earlier @capmetrorail but thank goodness I don’t have to drive in th — at Leander Metro Station

@spinuzzi: A courteous bus driver saw me sprinting and waited a few extra moments for me to get to the stop. Thanks, CapMetro.

@1OneStone: Curb service 2day. Michele’s driving the @CapMetro van. My hands r free 2 FB/Tweet coming home. Feel spoiled. #iamblessed

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Twitter Roundup

From time to time, we’d like to highlight some of our favorite tweets about Capital Metro. You can follow us on Twitter:  @capmetronews & @capmetrorail

Remember that if you need immediate assistance (where’s the bus?, the bus is late, etc.) or need more space than 140 characters, your best bet is probably to call the GO Line at (512) 474-1200. Another option is to send an email. The more details you can provide, the better job we can do at helping you.

OK, here’s a sample of tweets from the past couple of weeks. It’s by no means a complete list, but a decent sample nonetheless:

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Happy Customers:

CoreyPud

@CapMetroNews I like the new horn on the #capmetro rail. Much less obtrusive!

ANY CHARACTER HERE

lovefilkins

Furthermore, Austin residents, you should always take the @CapMetroNews 21 bus around 11am from campus. NICEST bus driver I ever met.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

lovefilkins

@CapMetroNews your board shoulda been on the 320 at Comal/6th. Driver did a FANTASTIC job maneuvering back from a lost semi. We all clapped!

ANY CHARACTER HERE

hipharpy

@CapMetroNews Thanks for the virtuosic bus-driving highlights reel. I think many of your drivers have super-hero super-powers.

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PRESENTING: The Twitter Contest Idea Contest

We have 20 seven-day MetroPlus passes to give away that are going to expire on Oct. 31. We thought it’d be fun to do a twitter contest. We had a couple of ideas already for contests, but some of them would take more time than we have, and some of them were not too exciting. So. we’re going to do a contest to get some contest ideas.

The SKINNY: Tweet us @capmetrorail your idea for a twitter contest we could do at some later date. The first 20 ideas tweeted today before 4 p.m. will get a free pass to ride MetroBus, MetroExpress and MetroRail next week.

SMALL PRINT:

1) you must follow @capmetrorail to be eligible.
2) your tweet must mention @capmetrorail in the tweet.
3) You must provide via DM your address by 4 p.m. so we can mail you a pass ASAP–no guarantees it will show up in the mail tomorrow, though–could be Monday.

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Tweeting @capmetrorail

Meet soon-to-be MetroRail frequent rider Logan Gentry. Logan is an engineer who works downtown. He’s also an avid twitterer who’s been tweeting about Capital MetroRail for the past year or more.

Since Capital Metro started tweeting via @CapMetroRail, we’ve become acquainted with Logan through his always persistent, sometimes pointed tweets about MetroRail.

We let the media ride on MetroRail this past Monday, and we were allowed to invite a few other guests, too. Logan was my guest, and as his tweets indicate, he enjoyed the ride.

Here’s @logangentry‘s stream from the ride:

My first tweet from the @capmetrorail! Many more to follow. Loving it!

It’s me and a bunch of reporters on the @capmetrorail http://tweetphoto.com/13721723

college students who commute, here’s your stop on @capmetrorail MLK station for a campus shuttle http://tweetphoto.com/13721953 free 4 UT

Really smooth ride with free wifi on the @capmetrorail. A long…long wait, but it’s appearing to be worth it so far

Special thanks to @capmetrorail for letting me ride this afternoon! Glad to see it finally happening.

KXAN interviewed Logan about the experience; Check out the story here.

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Rail tweets

We’ve been playing with twitter over here. It’s sort of an experiment, but we’re tweeting about MetroRail–check us out.

Everyone’s on twitter, it seems. Frankly I never really got the memo; or, perhaps more appropriate, I missed the train.

One of our executives had earlier suggested twitter as a potential tool for frequent MetroRail updates. And after playing with it, it is kind of interesting. Perhaps it could evolve into a mechanism for service announcements once the Red Line is operating full service. That’s what Washington DC’s Metro just did. Maybe I could become a reluctant twitter fan with practice.

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