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June2014-Proposed-Service-Change-Web-BannerBy Celso Baez, Community Involvement Specialist

We’ve recently heard some feedback from our riders about our proposal to move MetroBus routes currently operating on Congress Avenue onto the Guadalupe/Lavaca corridor. Most of us have experienced congestion on Congress Avenue, whether on a bus or in a private automobile. Sometimes it’s faster to walk to get through downtown due to all the traffic, especially during a special event.

Why are we considering route changes on Congress?

Congress Avenue has several challenges that hamper safety, bus operations, and the comfort of our customers. Our goals for improving downtown service are based on Service Plan 2020, our long range plan for improving service.

Angled Parking

Angled parking and chronic congestion along the Congress Avenue corridor make it challenging for our vehicles to operate safely. Safety is our number one priority at Capital Metro, and moving most MetroBus routes off of Congress Avenue and onto Guadalupe and Lavaca streets would make service safer for our customers by reducing collisions with private automobiles.

june-atstopFrequent Stops

Many of our customers have experienced the high number of stops on Congress that make it difficult for our vehicles to pass—leading to a wall of buses slowly moving down the street. By moving all remaining routes, except Route 100 MetroAirport Flyer, from Congress Avenue, Colorado and Brazos streets onto the Guadalupe and Lavaca corridor, local service will be able to move through downtown Austin several minutes faster, utilizing the transit priority lanes. In addition, transfers would be made easier while improving connections with MetroRapid and MetroRail.

Ridership

Approximately 13,000 bus passengers travel to downtown Austin on a daily basis. About 80 percent of those passengers transfer to another route. Downtown Austin is the final destination for the remaining 3,200 daily passengers (20 percent), with about half of those coming from commuter or flyer routes. A large number of commuter and flyer route customers walk from Guadalupe Street / Lavaca Street to Congress Avenue. A large number of routes through downtown Austin are “through-routed”, i.e. they do not terminate in downtown but continue from one end of downtown to another. Approximately 3,600 daily passengers travel through downtown on a through-routed bus. Moving most MetroBus routes onto the Guadalupe/Lavaca corridors would make the majority of downtown trips easier for our customers. We realize that for some, walks would be made longer; however Capital Metro has tried mitigating the impact by realigning routes 7, 20, and 17 to better accommodate our riders. With projects like Austin B-cycle, which provides a network of 24 hour/day, on demand bicycle stations to the urban core and the City of Austin’s Great Streets initiative which aims at improving the quality of downtown streets and sidewalks, walks to Congress Avenue from Guadalupe and Lavaca streets and vice versa are much more pleasant.

Special Event Detours

We all know how congested Congress Avenue becomes during a special event. Special event detours significantly disrupt transit service for our customers who rely on our system to get to work, school, and other priority destinations. Operating all local routes on the G/L corridor would reduce special events detours; alleviate congestion on Congress Avenue, thereby making service more efficient. This was evidenced by how successful service operated during SXSW and Formula One, when Capital Metro moved most MetroBus routes on the G/L corridor.

Stop Amenities

Historic and landmark preservation measures on the Congress Avenue corridor prevent Capital Metro from enhancing our existing bus stops. While the sidewalk is wide, there are no additional passenger amenities we are capable of providing. Moving most MetroBus routes onto G/L would allow us to add amenities such as benches and shelters otherwise not possible on Congress Avenue, providing a better customer experience for our riders.

forumHow to Share Your Feedback

Please keep giving us your feedback and commenting on our proposals—we want to hear from you! All riders are encouraged to participate in our public involvement opportunities listed below. Capital Metro will conduct a series of public meetings, and a 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!

View the recent webinar:

Share your comments and send any questions to feedback@capmetro.org.

Upcoming Public Involvement Dates:

Public Meetings

March 4, 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.

Capital Metro Transit Store, 209 W. 9th | Served by all downtown Local bus routes, MetroRapid 801

March 5, 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.

Capital Metro Transit Store, 209 W. 9th | Served by all downtown Local bus routes, MetroRapid 801

March 6, 3:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Capital Metro Transit Store, 209 W. 9th | Served by all downtown Local bus routes, MetroRapid 801

Online Discussion Forum

ideas.capmetro.org

Email

Feedback@capmetro.org

Social Media 

Facebook | Twitter

Public Hearing

March 17, 12:00 noon

Capital Metro Headquarters, 2910 E. 5th St. | Served by Local routes 17, 300

For more information on the proposed summer 2014 changes, including maps of the proposed areas, visit capmetro.org/summer2014. Details can also be found by viewing this video or by calling the GO Line at 512-474-1200.

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A sneak peak at the new MetroRapid vehicle.

A sneak peak at the new MetroRapid vehicle.

It’s been said that great cities have great public transportation systems, and with the upcoming launch of MetroRapid, the booming Central Texas region will be one step closer to realizing that goal.

Capital Metro pulled back the curtain Thursday, allowing members of the media to get an up close and personal look at the new MetroRapid vehicles before they hit the streets in early 2014 (although you’ll be seeing some of the buses around town over the next few months for testing purposes).

“This is a service we’re going to be able to introduce to the community unlike any they’ve seen before in Central Texas,” Capital Metro President and CEO Linda S. Watson said. “This is such an exciting time for Capital Metro.”

Cap Metro President & CEO Linda Watson with a new MetroRapid vehicle.

Cap Metro President & CEO Linda Watson with a new MetroRapid vehicle.

(more…)

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On May 20, the Capital Metro board of directors and President/CEO Linda Watson recognized bus operators and mechanics who represented Capital Metro at the local, state and international roadeo events.

On May 20, the Capital Metro board of directors and President/CEO Linda Watson recognized bus operators and mechanics who represented Capital Metro at the local, state and international roadeo events.

Yesterday, the Capital Metro board recognized the bus operators and mechanics who competed at the local, state and national Bus Roadeo competitions this spring.

A handful of the 1,000+ bus operators and mechanics who drive and service Capital Metro buses represented Capital Metro and the State of Texas at the International Bus Roadeo on May 5, in Indianapolis, Indiana.  McDonald bus operators Arthur “Ace” Murillo and Abdelkader Tenouri placed 5th and 6th, respectively, in the 35-Foot Bus division, and Porfirio “Pistol Pete” Rivera was 21st out of 50 competitors in the 40-Foot Bus division.

McDonald maintenance team Jaime Ayala, John Proske and Gary Robledo placed 10th in the Maintenance division. They were the only team to receive a perfect score in one of the challenge events.

Bus operators Arthur Murillo, Pete Rivera and Abdel Tenouri enjoy the 2013 International Bus Roadeo in Indianapolis.

Bus operators Arthur Murillo, Pete Rivera and Abdel Tenouri enjoy the 2013 International Bus Roadeo in Indianapolis.

Murillo has won the international event four times, and Tenouri also has an international title under his belt.

Congrats to all of these very skilled competitors! And there’s one more competitor to watch this season: MetroAccess Van Operator Ted Ward will compete in the National Community Transit Roadeo on June 2.

Browse photos from the 2013 Texas State Roadeo

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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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DP

We’ve crunched all the numbers for 2012, and here’s the bottom line: Capital Metro knocked it out of the park in 2012.

During 2012, we provided an average 112,000 rides each weekday—enough passengers to completely fill both the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and Disch-Falk Field combined.

The proof that central Texans are choosing Capital Metro as a preferred way to get around lies in our numbers–in 2012 we provided over 34 million boardings–more trips than the population of Texas!

Across the nation, more people are turning to public transit as the preferred transportation choice, but Capital Metro’s growth rate far exceeds the national trend. Here at home, our fixed-route bus ridership is boasting a 22-month growth streak, and MetroRail ridership has tripled in two years.

See the growth in our bus ridership for yourself–2011 compared to 2012 below:

PR2


2012 was a big year for MetroRail too! We’ve got more people riding the rails every single day with an average 2,200 boardings each weekend.

In 2012, MetroRail hit a milestone of its one millionth passenger trip, and ridership increased nearly 50 percent in 2012 over 2011.

Rail’s popular! See the ridership spike:

PR1

Capital Metro made progress in 2012 by analyzing service and making changes towards creating a more efficient system.

Going into 2013, we’re excited to keep  driving progress by working hard at planning for the region’s future with high-capacity transit solutions, like MetroRapid, that will move more people at less cost and with less impact to the environment.

We are also focused on the regional planning effort, Project Connect, that has developed a high-capacity transit vision to keep all of us in Central Texas moving and connected.

How are we driving progress? Check out this super sweet video that breaks it down:

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These bus/train ads have been up and down Austin streets for a few months now. They’re all about going downtown and grabbin’ a ride on MetroRail to get you where you need to go. If you’ve noticed them, you’re not alone — they’ve caught the attention of the American Public Transportation Association.

Earlier this month, Capital Metro found out we won the APTA AdWheel Award for this “Go Downtown” campaign we started in March when we began running Friday and Saturday night service! APTA contests are no joke, so this award means a lot to our team and lands us some major props in the industry.

The campaign mission originally was solely intended to encourage and inform riders like you about the new night rail service, but it’s cool too that someone else noticed our efforts because there were a  lot of very creative people who invested many hours into making the “Go Downtown” project shine.

Each year, APTA honors members’ marketing and communications efforts with the AdWheel Awards. Awards are presented in five main media categories: print, electronic, campaigns, social media, and special events. Recipients are honored in a special ceremony at APTA’s Annual Meeting, held each October.

So, thanks APTA for recognizing Capital Metro’s efforts through this award — it means a lot to us, but more importantly, we hope riders like you are continuing to enjoy Friday and Saturday night service and know we appreciate you for riding Capital Metro! Next time you see these cool ads around town, you’ll know they’re actually award-winning.

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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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Prepare to be inspired! By the end of October, your bus will feature poetry onboard, thanks to a partnership with Austin Poetry Society.

The winning poets pose with their poems/bus placards in front of what has been deemed “the poetry bus.”

On Sept. 29, we kicked off the next phase of a partnership with the Austin Poetry Society that is bringing poems by local poets onboard our entire fleet of buses, including UT Shuttle buses.

APS announced the winners of a poetry contest that was advertised on 150 Capital Metro buses earlier this summer. About 100 people came to hear the winning poets read their poems and install the first of the bus placards onboard a Capital Metro bus parked at the event.

Bus number 2371 was parked at the event, and we’ve deemed it “the Poetry Bus” as it will feature the poems of ALL the winning poets.

Twelve different poems are being produced into bus placards, all designed by local artist and poet Christine Gilbert. We hope the poems will delight you and add some joy to your daily ride on Capital Metro.

The contest garnered more than 300 entries, many of which were penned by bus riders. Per the partnership agreement, APS produced the interior bus signs, and Capital Metro donated the space inside the buses.

APS is planning to produce a second batch of signs featuring another 12 poems next spring.

Here is one of the placards you may see on your bus beginning this month, enjoy!

 

 

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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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