Welcome to Capital MetroBlog

Hi there. Welcome to Capital Metro’s blog, Capital MetroBlog. Our hope is to engage the community in a frank, open conversation about public transportation in Austin. We’re going for transparency, not perfection, and we hope that you’ll join the conversation with your ideas, questions, and suggestions.

It’s an interesting time to talk about public transportation in Austin, with $4-per-gallon gas looming, our ridership increasing, and Central Texas’ population exploding. It’s a dynamic set of challenges for Capital Metro, challenges that the entire community has a stake in. Let’s dig in.

20 thoughts on “Welcome to Capital MetroBlog

  1. Anonymous

    I took the Oak Hill Flyer into work today for the first time in two years and the bus was one seat and standing room from being full. All of the regulars commented on who all these new people were and why the all showed up today. I’ve heard the Nation as a whole is not prepared for what is about to happen to mass transit usership, and I wonder whether CapMetro is preparing for or even capable of handling a potential 50%, 100% or 200% increase in useage in the next few weeks or months. This increase could even be a permanent change if gas prices stay even close to $4.00 a gallon.

  2. That One Guy

    As a cyclist the crowding issue anonymous refers to becomes even more worrisome to me, if I choose to augment my cycling with busing, as I often do, I am worried that those two little slots at the front will be chock-full with increased ridership. Is there any chance that there has been discussion of adding more bike portage capacity to existing buses or that this is at least being considered in the design of the MetroRapid system?

  3. M1EK

    The commuter rail cars will have a lot more bike spaces available than will a bus, but since MetroRapid is effectively shelved, don’t expect any help there.

  4. That One Guy

    Yeah, I knew the rail was supposed to have pretty good bike storage. That’s a bummer about the MetroRapid, I guess I’m behind the times 😦 I was looking forward to their addition to the system.

  5. Don Dickson

    I used to take the Oak Hill Flyer almost every day. There were a couple of days when I was the only person on the entire bus. Now you can hardly get a seat on it.

    ‘Bout time people woke up. 🙂

  6. Anonymous

    Maybe if the board and president take the bus to work or meeting, the bus efficient would change plus, if they rode, it would set an excellent example for everyone else. Too bad most people would set policies for mass transit rarely ride the bus but drive their own vehicles.
    One board member told me it is inconvenient to ride the bus. WOW!

  7. Anonymous

    One comment I would like to make, as it has affected me as well as several other riders who catch the same Express Buses that I take to and from work, is the need to not have buses skipped.

    I have on occasion had buses not show and others have told me of times that they have had 2 or even 3 buses not show in a row.

    From what one guy who rides with me was able to get from an operator when he called one time, is that if a bus driver calls in sick, or a bus breaks down, that bus is just skipped. I have known of people who have stopped riding because of the skipped buses.

  8. Anonymous

    A few ideas:
    Have a system to message or allow browse to where buses actually are, so wait time can be cut. This will drastically increase usability.
    Starting now, DON”T EVER LEAVE EARLY AGAIN! This will drastically increase usability.

  9. Erica McKewen

    When a bus driver calls in sick, that route gets assigned to another driver. we have a group of about 75 operators whose entire role is to fill in whenever needed.

    We also dedicate some buses during peak hours to be available to recover service if something happens, i.e., a bus breaks down, or there’s an accident, etc.

    Keep in mind that recovered service is usually delayed, so it may feel like the bus never came, but it just came late.

    The only other thing that could feel like a “skip” is when the route is on detour. sometimes detours are “forced” to happen on-the-spot, due to construction or an accident, and in essence, a bus stop could be skipped in that case. We hate it when that happens and try very hard to alert customers of detours in advance whenever it’s feasibly possible to do so.

  10. Don Dickson

    Anon’s comment about CM officials not riding their own buses prompts me to observe one of the great differences between Austin and cities like New York.

    In New York, the captains of business and industry ride the buses and subways elbow-to-elbow with welders, secretaries, physicians, zookeepers and the homeless. And none could survive without those transit systems.

    Here in Austin, most riders are those who can’t afford to buy or fuel up a car. As a consequence, elected officials and voters have an unfortunate tendency to think of expenditures on mass transit as being akin to a welfare program. Seems like everyone in this town was in favor of building light rail as long as it didn’t come anywhere near where they live or work.

    It’s a stupid mentality. And we’re going to pay for it, big time. All of us.

  11. MTissing

    I’ve ridden the Oak Hill Flyer a couple of times, but took the Manchacha flyer this morning because it’s closer to my house. I parked at the HEB at Manchacha & Slaughter, even though they have a warning about towing cars. One thing I noticed immediately is that the Oak Hill Flyer bus is a class above the Manchacha Flyer. The Oak Hill bus is like a tour bus – better air conditioning, more comfortable seats, more seats. The Manchacha bus is, I assume, a regular city bus. The main obstacle I see is that there is no parking for those of us who live south of Slaughter. A Capital Metro rep. called me when I voiced a complaint about this and told me they were going to have a second park and ride in the Oak Hill area, but that doesn’t help any of us who live in the Slaughter/Manchacha area.

  12. Don Dickson

    I don’t live in SW Austin any more, but when I did, the biggest complaint I had about the Oak Hill and Manchaca Flyers was that there was just horrible coordination between both routes and the 333. No matter when I caught the 333, and no matter whether I took it east to the 103 or west to the 171, I always got to the transfer point a minute or two too late. And the same happened in reverse – the 103 would be waiting at the red light at Wm. Cannon and the 333 would go breezing by…leaving me to stand in the sun for 30 minutes. Same with the 171’s arrival at the OHP&R.

    It used to make me completely nuts. And I’d complain about it in markup after markup after markup.

    I am very happy not to live on the SW corner of the CM route map any more.

  13. dollyhs

    Has anyone looked into trolleys that run on regular rubber type tires? These are powered by electricity through wires above like railed trolleys. They would but pollution without having to tear up the streets for years. Also, they would be more flexible as ridership needs changed you could just move the wires. As to whether to have dedicated lanes or red lights that change when approached, these issues could be worked out more easily because of the flexibility.

  14. ctxneedscapmetrostop

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=18207544990

    This is a Facebook group for all of the Concordia University-Texas (CTX) students that NEED a CapMetro bus stop at our school, which is located on 620 between 183 and 2222. CapMetro has told us that they need a ridership out here before they will set up a stop. Many of us have no car to get around Austin and need this stop to be established soon. The group members are proof we have the ridership represented out here. Feel free to join if you’re in that still unserviced strip on 620 with public transportation as your only alternative for getting around Austin.

  15. Misty Whited

    In response to ctxneedscapmetrostop, Capital Metro has actually looked into the feasibility of adding a bus stop at Concordia to Route 122 Four Points Limited, which travels from Downtown to Lakeline Station via FM 2222 and FM 620. It’s possible to add a stop along Concordia Ave if the University would work with the City of Austin to convert it to a roundabout with appropriate striping and signage. This is necessary to safely operate a bus on campus. We will follow up with University officials to see if they are interested in pursuing a bus stop on campus.

  16. ctxneedscapmetrostop

    Ms. Whited, thanks so much for the speedy reply! And we would all greatly appreciate CapMetro following up on that with the campus! If you don’t mind, I will post your reply verbatim on our Facebook group so they all know CapMetro hears us and is working on it. Thanks again!

  17. TexasTaxpayer

    Before Capital Metro spends a large
    amount of taxpayer’s money on planning a streetcar system, they should operate a bus along the perposed route(s) to see IF people would use a fixed route transportation system.

  18. Old Town Resident

    Can someone please find out for me (or tell me how to find out)—why Capital Metro closed the railroad crossing across from Old Town Leander? The residents here were told that it was an illegal crossing. That seems strange, because the crossing was here for at least 60 years, and that was before Leander became a city. It is also strange that the Leander School District school buses used to come across that crossing.

    We were also told that it was too dangerous. However, I have owned my home for over 10 years, and am not aware of any train/car wrecks.

    The problem for Old Town Leander residents, is that we now only have one road to get in and out of our subdivision. When the crossing was closed, we were assured that we were going to have commectivity to the TOD at the new rail station. However, in March of this year, we were informed that the plans had changed, so there are not going to be any connecting roads.

    This makes it very dangerous for those of us who live in Old Town. Traffic backs up at the one road that connects to 2243. It REALLY backs up when the new trains cause the gates to mal-function and the gates stay down for 15 minutes. The Leander mayor and city council voted for the new TOD plans, despite our pleas not to put our lives and homes in jeopardy. If a train ever derails near 2243, we will be trapped in or out of our neighborhood. No ambulances will be able to get here. No fire trucks will be able to get here.

    Can someone please, help me to find the answers to my questions?

    Thank you

  19. mscoughlan

    We are looking for information about getting to and FROM the Fourth of July activities at the Long Center and Auditorium Shores.

    We are very reluctant to ride the Metro again after last year's complete fiasco. Bad information and poor planning ruled the night after the fireworks. Delays, reduced service, confusion and flaring tempers by commuters AND DRIVERS on top of a three-hour return trip spoiled the fun evening.

    Can we expect any improvement this Fourth of July?

  20. Erica McKewen

    mscoughlan, last year we provided a Sunday level of service for July 4–this meant that bus service was less frequent and ended earlier in the evening. This year, we're operating our regular Saturday level of service, so both frequency and schedule should be improved. You can access an interactive map showing the routes that serve Auditorium Shores at http://www.capmetro.org/docs/aud_shores_routes.pdf

    In regards to delays, unfortunately, when the fireworks start going off, downtown becomes gridlock for about ½ an hour. People stop on the bridges, get out of their cars and watch. There is nothing the bus can do but wait, like all the other cars.

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