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Posts Tagged ‘Capital Metro’

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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Today marked the first day of the new MetroRapid service!

Vehicles started rolling out into service early this morning and we have over 200 employee volunteers at stations and onboard this week helping you navigate the new service.

MetroRapid’s new amenities:

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  • Frequent service
  • Fewer stops
  • New vehicles
  • Wi-Fi
  • Mobile app
  • Traffic priority lanes
  • Unique stations
  • 3-position bike rack
  • Traffic signal priority technology

As you prepare for tomorrow’s workday/school day commute, make sure you’re up-to-date on all the recent changes, effective today at Capital Metro:

- New MetroRapid service, Route 801

- New fare system

- Changes to some bus routes

- New mobile app

Check out some of today’s MetroRapid Day #1 action!

1st

1st MetroRapid vehicle rolls out into town

Cyclist tries out the new 3-bike rack

Cyclist tries out the new 3-bike rack

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One of the 200 volunteers out at MetroRapid stations this week

One of the 200 volunteers out at MetroRapid stations this week

Thank you for riding Capital Metro!

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Capital Metro is building 6 new MetroBike Shelters to provide more secure overnight or daily bike parking at major access points to bus and train routes.

Like the MetroBike Shelter already open at Kramer Station, these new shelters will make it safer and more secure to use transit without the having to take a bike onto a bus or train.

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The new MetroBike Shelters are being constructed at:

  • Tech Ridge Park & Ride
  • Lakeline Station
  • Highland Station
  • MLK Jr. Station
  • Plaza Saltillo Station
  • South Congress Transit Center

For an introductory cost of only $30/year, you can purchase a MetroBike Access Card online to be mailed out within the week. Cards are valid beginning the month of purchase. This card will access any of the MetroBike Shelters around town. Daily card access extends from 5:00AM to 1:30AM.

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Protect your bike from the elements

Once inside, the cyclist locks their bike to a rack with their own bike lock. The shelter provides protection from the sun and rain, and provides a higher level of security with 24-hour camera surveillance and lighting.

A helpful repair stand with tools and air pump with gauge inside each shelter makes it easier to combine your bike and Capital Metro commute.

A MetroBike repair stand

A MetroBike repair stand

Free bike racks will remain available outside these shelters.

Flatwork at Plaza Saltillo Station

Flatwork at Plaza Saltillo Station

Construction is underway at all new locations, and the shelters will open before the summer heat returns (Opening date to be announced soon). These shelters are made possible through an FTA Livability grant with match funding provided by the City of Austin. For more info go to http://www.capmetro.org/metrobike.

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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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Earlier today Capital Metro staff joined members of ADAPT in unveiling two newly adopted bus stops outside of the ADAPT offices, located at East 2nd and Chalmers.

ADAPT members kicked off the ribbon cutting ceremony by picking up litter in the area along Route 320. Members then officially adopted their stops with a ceremonial ribbon tearing.

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At the ceremony ADAPT Community Advocate and H.A.N.D. Board Member Nancy Crowther said, “We are excited to be representing the community because it’s very important to us, with accessible transportation. We also care about our community, that’s why we’re cleaning it up at our bus stop.”

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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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Tomorrow, Capital Metro will be partnering with H-E-B in its 23rd annual Feast of Sharing dinner on Nov. 20 from 4-8 p.m at Palmer Events Center (900 Barton Springs Road). This is an opportunity for H-E-B to give back to the community by providing residents with a delicious, free meal and festive entertainment.

For the 10th year, Capital Metro has partnered with H-E-B to provide 5,000 Day-Passes to Central Texans for a free ride to the feast. The passes include a special printed H-E-B Fest of Sharing logo and can be picked up at the service desk for free at five area stores:

- H-E-B at 2701 E. 7th St.

- H-E-B at 1000 E. 41st St.

- H-E-B at 2400 S. Congress

- H-E-B at 2508 E. Riverside

- H-E-B at 9414 N. Lamar

(NoteH-E-B began distributing passes last week, so you may want to call ahead to check availability.)

Last year, H-E-B provided about 14,000 meals and is grateful Capital Metro has extended its helping hand once again to promote the community event.

Use Capital Metro’s online Trip Planner, call the GO Line at 474-1200, or download the Austin Capital Metro app to find your best route to the Palmer Events Center. Route 30 Barton Creek, 5 Woodrow/South 5th and 100 MetroAirport have stops near the Palmer Events Center.

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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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Capital Metro now offers a 100% FREE mobile app. It keeps your commute efficient with a Trip Planner, schedule times, service alerts and more–right at your fingertips!

Best of all, now you can purchase fares from the palm of your hand. That’s right! We’ve enabled this new feature TODAY. Now, you can take a sneak-peek of this fare purchasing feature and enjoy the full-capability of the Capital Metro app.

Use the Capital Metro app in FIVE EASY STEPS!

Step 1: Using your smartphone, easily locate the Capital Metro app by Bytemark in the App Store (http://ow.ly/eVh3u) or Google Play (http://ow.ly/eVh7a).

Look for some screen images that look like these:

Download the app for FREE!!

Step 2: Use this blue and green homescreen to navigate throughout the mobile app to reach: Schedules, Routes/Maps, Event info, Advisories and More Info.

Click the bottom row of the screen to navigate back to home, Buy Passes, Use Passes or change your profile settings.

Step 3: Buy Passes by clicking the shopping cart icon at the bottom, which will take you to this screen:

You will see the options to purchase either Local or Regional Passes. Tap the green plus circle to add the fare to your cart.

Step 4: Use Passes

When you are ready to board the bus or train and validate your fare, click the ticket icon at the bottom bar to Use Passes.

A screen like the one above will show up where you will see which passes you have available to validate. Simply tap on the pass you’d like to use and choose: “Use Selected Passes” at the bottom.

Tickets are available immediately after purchase, but once you activate your fare, the clock is ticking on the expiration date. Activate your fare just prior to boarding.

Step 5: As you are boarding, show the validate fare screen to the bus operator or train fare platform inspector. The validated screen will look like this:

The fare you have selected and amount will be shown on-screen along with the time and date of expiration. You bus operator or the fare inspector on your train may ask you to touch the screen as a security measure. Touching the screen will activate a visual change to the screen indicating a valid fare.

That’s it! Using the Capital Metro app is easy!

A few tips to keep in mind:

- The mobile app will only be available during a specific piloting phase until November 24.

- Capital Metro will not offer refunds for fares purchased via the app.

- Please call customer service for problems loading the app at (512) 474-1200 available: M-F 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

- If you have more questions check out our app FAQ section.

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