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CapMetro services to continue in Manor and Lago Vista  

Welcome to the CapMetro blog, where we regularly highlight CapMetro’s many offerings and its best-in-class workforce.

Our services will continue in the city of Manor and the city of Lago Vista after their communities voted in favor of Proposition A, which were ballot measures to continue their partnerships with us. 


>>Plan your trip


This is the fourth election since Project Connect was on the ballot in 2020 and the third election in 2022 where voters demonstrated that our communities value and need public transportation in Central Texas. In May 2022, constituents in Leander also voted in favor of continuing their partnership with us.  

We are appreciative of the support and are eager to continue connecting our region through a variety of services, such as Pickup, MetroAccess, bus and rail. 

Although our services are strongly utilized across the region, cities are faced with tough choices due to limited funding. We understand why these measures are placed on ballots, but time and time again, Central Texans have strongly voiced their support for sustainable, equitable and robust public transportation. As the region continues to grow, we are prepared to grow with it, by increasing and providing more services throughout our communities. 

We are committed to all our member cities and through our Build Central Texas program, we will continue strategically supporting them with public transportation at the forefront.  

We provide safe and reliable transportation across Central Texans, a responsibility we have never taken lightly. We are honored to continue serving the community as we work together to expand the public transportation system that can help solve the equity gap felt by so many throughout Central Texas.  

CapMetro welcomes – and encourages – your comments on our blog. Comments that are abusive in nature will be removed, in accordance with our social media policy.

Texan by Nature 20 Awards: CapMetro recognized for conservation efforts

Welcome to the CapMetro blog, where we regularly highlight CapMetro’s many offerings and its best-in-class workforce.

CapMetro’s continuing commitment to conservation has been recognized with a statewide award.

The agency learned this week it was named a Texan by Nature 20 (TxN 20) recipient, joining 19 other Lone Star State businesses cited as the best of the best when it comes to protecting the environment.

Other recognizable names on the 2022 list are a handful of Austin-based firms, including tech giant Cirrus Logic and Yeti, maker of trendy coolers, thermoses, koozies and more. See the full list here.

The TxN 20 list first debuted in 2019, with a focus on 12 industries. CapMetro is being honored in the midsize Transportation category.

“Sustainability is central to the mission of CapMetro and is reflected as a core value,” said Dottie Watkins, interim CapMetro president and CEO. “Sustainability is built into our commitment to the region and the community of Central Texas as a guiding principle of Project Connect. Some of the objectives include building an all-electric fleet, using renewables like solar and wind as major sources of energy, and using the most advanced systems to reduce water use and waste in all operations.”

The CapMetro board and members of the Executive Management Team lead the sustainability charge, which filters down to employees throughout the organization.

CapMetro has focused in recent years on acquiring vehicles with multiple features to help further conservation and sustainability efforts:

Zero-emission CapMetroBuses

  • North Operations Center can currently accommodate 180 electric buses
  • Currently 12 electric buses in service; 200 more on the way in the next four years

CapMetroBikes

  • System improved and expanded
  • Bike racks on each CapMetroBus; bike hooks on CapMetroRail
  • Transit facilities connected to bike trails
  • Gold rating from League of American Cyclists Bicycle Friendly Business since 2016

Zero-emission CapMetro fleet vehicles

  • Electric fleet vehicles for operations staff, including several Nissan Leafs, with more on the way

“This recognition by TxN validates that we are on track and leading the industry in sustainable and operational practices that truly make a difference,” said Rob Borowski, CapMetro’s sustainability officer. “TxN brings together people and organizations of all types to implement real solutions – making this recognition even more powerful. It is both an honor to be selected, and a challenge to us to keep innovating.”


>> READ: CapMetro’s Sustainability Vision Plan


Examples of long-term conservation methods undertaken by CapMetro include:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions: Carbon neutral by 2040, consistent with the City of Austin Climate Equity Plan
  • Zero waste: 90 percent reduction of waste to landfills by 2040, consistent with the City of Austin Zero Waste Strategic Plan
  • Water and nature: Sustainably manage water resources and enhance nature and natural systems through conservation and green infrastructure. 
  • Sustainable buildings and infrastructure: Use sustainable design guidelines and rating systems (Envision, Austin Energy Green Building, LEED) to guide all capital projects. 
  • Equity and livable communities: Leverage transit resources to enhance sustainability, connectivity and access to opportunities; and create livable places, especially in historically disinvested communities. 

Short-term objectives are embedded in CapMetro operations and projects through these action areas: 

  • Energy: Reduce the energy used in our current facilities and operations through a comprehensive energy management program. Renewable energy is the first choice. 
  • Sustainable and zero-emission fleet: Transition all revenue and non-revenue fleets to zero-emission. 
  • Water and natural world: Assess all assets and properties for opportunities to conserve, restore and enhance natural areas, improve biodiversity, increase native plants and protect watersheds and water resources. 
  • Zero waste and natural resource management: Manage operations to reduce the amount of waste generated and prioritize options, such as surplus using, repurposing, asset management, organics management and recycling.
  • Green buildings and infrastructure: Design all new buildings and capital projects to prioritize the highest practical environmental and sustainability performance and to support net zero carbon goals within the established timeframes.
  • Environmental and sustainability management: Reestablish and implement an Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) that supports our goals to reduce climate footprint, reduce environmental impact and improve facility resiliency.  

CapMetro welcomes – and encourages – your comments on our blog. Comments that are abusive in nature will be removed, in accordance with our social media policy.

Boo! Check out Halloween costumes modeled by our buses, trains, bikes and more

All images by CapMetro creative communications specialist Corey Marquart

Welcome to the CapMetro blog, where we regularly highlight CapMetro’s many offerings and its best-in-class workforce.

Are you brave enough to roam the streets on All Hallows’ Eve? With celebrations, costume contests and themed bars popping up all over Austin, CapMetro can be your answer to a stress-free ride home. Remember, kids 18 and under always ride free. So do Austin Community College and University of Texas students, staff and faculty.

On Saturday, Oct. 29, CapMetroRail will run until 2:30 a.m. and CapMetroRapid will run until midnight. Rail will also run until midnight on Monday, Oct. 31 for weeknight Halloween warriors. If you plan to be out late, Night Owls will run until about 3 a.m. and will depart from the intersection of Sixth Street and Congress Avenue. If you’re going back to the UT campus area or North Lamar Boulevard, take the Night Owl 481, whereas the Night Owl 483 serves Riverside.

To make all your Halloween planning a bit easier, we’ve brainstormed some topical costume ideas. In line with the theme of dumping the pump and riding public transit, some of these ideas are related to saving the Earth, which never goes out of style. Just like previous years, our buses, trains and bikes agreed to model these costumes for us.

ET (Modeled by CapMetroBike)

ET walked so that “Stranger Things” could run. We’re bringing back a timeless 1980s costume featuring our favorite extraterrestrial. Although you might not be able to fly through the sky on your bike, you can still relive the emotional voyage of this little alien who finds himself far from home. You’ll need a red hoodie, basket, white towel, ET plushie and bike. No bike? No problem. Download the BCycle app to rent a CapMetroBike to both complete your costume and get you home. And with the CapMetro app, you, too, can phone a safe ride home.

Super Mario Bullet Bill (Modeled by CapMetroRail)

Isn’t it every kid’s dream to be launched out of a cannon? Join the dark side in a Bullet Bill costume. This is perfect for a budget- and time-friendly kids’ costume. Select the best all-black outfit from your closet, add a black ski-mask and don white gloves. Take it to the next level by getting your friends to dress up as Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach. Toad can come, too.

NASA spacecraft (Modeled by CapMetroBus)

With the resurgence of 1990s fashion and space exploration, we’ve been seeing an abundance of NASA T-shirts incorporated into current fashion trends. Why not take the NASA appreciation a step further and dress up as a Dart spacecraft crashing into an asteroid 7 million miles from Earth? Why? To save humankind from suffering the same fate as the dinosaurs somewhere down the line, of course. You’ll be kind of a big deal.

Top Gun Maverick (Modeled by CapMetroBus)

Make your pilot dreams a reality with a “Maverick” costume. Take the bus to your local thrift store and find an army-green jumpsuit, helmet and classic aviator-style sunglasses. Print out a U.S. flag and “Top Gun” patch at home for final touches. Although this one can be a great last-minute costume, wear it with pride. It’s not just any pilot outfit … you’ll be known as the fastest man alive.

Austin FC (Modeled by CapMetroAccess)

It’s been a good year for Austin’s MLS team. If you have an iconic green-and-black striped jersey, we recommend topping it off with cleats, knee-high socks and face paint. Whether you’re going as goalkeeper Brad Stuver or another one of your favorite players, you’ll be able to feel Los Verdes pride during this playoff season. And remember, the best way to get to Q2 Stadium is by riding CapMetroRail.

CapMetro welcomes – and encourages – your comments on our blog. Comments that are abusive in nature will be removed, in accordance with our social media policy.

‘Gone bananas!’ What’s up with CapMetro’s safety campaign? 

Welcome to the CapMetro blog, where we regularly highlight CapMetro’s many offerings and its best-in-class workforce.

By Blythe Nebeker and Gary Dinges

You may have seen CapMetro’s latest safety campaign while walking around town, riding a bus or train, or maybe on social media. It’s eye-catching, dad-joke worthy and something that’s making people of all ages do a double-take. Many are left wondering, how in the world did they come up with that? You can thank Bananaman.CapMetro internal communications specialist Megan Sexton unintentionally got the ball rolling.  

Meet Bananaman, the inspiration for the latest CapMetro safety campaign.

“This creepy banana plushie popped up on my Amazon as something I might be interested in,” she explained. “It was absolutely random. I had no clue why Amazon would think I needed something like that. But also, our team is kind of random in that same way. I thought it could be a silly thing to bring to the office.” 

It became a fun game for the Marketing and Communications Department to secretly move Bananaman around for new people to find, but no one could’ve predicted what he would inspire.  

As this year’s Safety Month approached, CapMetro’s team of designers was preparing to create a fresh batch of advertisements, so a brainstorming session was on the docket. But just like how all meetings usually begin, there was some small talk beforehand and that was focused, of course, on our beloved Bananaman.  

“The idea just popped into my head, ‘Hey, why don’t we use Bananaman as our safety mascot, and use him to tell important stories about transit safety around the city?’ From there, the creative team started riffing on all the possible situations to put him in,” said creative manager Paul Del Bosque.

Besides being an avid foodie, CapMetro senior creative communications designer Jordan Golembeski is known by his colleagues for always looking for opportunities to inject humor into his designs. So a campaign with food and humor was right up his alley.

“With something like safety, it’s very serious and not necessarily something you joke about,” he said. “But, if you make the campaign about it a little silly, the message will stick better.” 

And he would know. His master’s thesis was all about using humor to address serious topics.  

Back in 2017, he helped create a campaign to try and decrease the number of rear-end collisions that were happening involving our buses. Rather than add more reflector tape to the back of our vehicles, which was a suggestion, he took it in a different direction. He wanted to use humor to help emphasize the importance of keeping a safe distance behind our buses. It worked. The number of rear-end collisions dropped noticeably.

Humorous campaigns, such as this one from 2017, catch the attention of motorists.

But, that’s not the only example. The MarCom team has been behind plenty of creative campaigns over the years, including a Halloween-themed one branded as “Witches Be Trippin’.” 

The popular “Witches Be Trippin'” campaign is another example of the MarCom team’s creativity.

Fast-forward a few years, and the team was eager to produce another, in Golembeski’s words, “groanworthy” campaign.  

@capmetroatx

Has CapMetro gone bananas with its ads? Find out what makes this safety campaign so appealing #linkinbio #fyp #publictransit #austintexas

♬ original sound – Minions

And with the help of Corey Marquart, a creative communications specialist at CapMetro, who created the tag line “Safety is Appealing,” it was all coming together.  

“If you use objects that you wouldn’t normally use and turn it into a character, it’ll be more memorable for those who see it,” Golembeski said. “We then took it a step further, by adding puns. It might be a little ‘groanworthy,’ but people will likely remember the underlying message more because it makes them stop.”  

Within about a week of coming up with the idea, the team had something to present to the CapMetro Safety Department.  

“The idea morphed into using real bananas dressed up with goofy eyes, hair and facial expressions,” Del Bosque said. “We brought bunches of bananas into the office and started designing the characters for a photoshoot.” 

It was truly a collaborative effort – and it paid off. The Safety Department loved the campaign as much as the MarCom team did.  

Jordan Golembeski, left, and Brandon Guidry conducted a photo shoot early on for the banana campaign.
Banana cones can be found at CapMetro bus stops and rail stations.

The campaign garnered so much praise that it was extended beyond just a single month. Golembeski had been eyeing these banana cones for months, hoping one day CapMetro would have a use for them. This was the perfect opportunity.  

The campaign is doing exactly what CapMetro wanted it to do: catching the attention of Central Texans – even those who don’t currently use the service. So don’t be surprised if you continue to see the bananas make appearances around town. 

To learn more about the role Bananaman plays in our 24/7/365 commitment to safety, visit our safety page

An Austinite took to Reddit to praise our latest safety campaign. A total of 522 Reddit users weighed in on the post.

CapMetro welcomes – and encourages – your comments on our blog. Comments that are abusive in nature will be removed, in accordance with our social media policy.