Getting Cozy on the Bus

We know personal space on some of the bus routes is getting…tight. Ridership has been increasing steadily since January. We don’t yet have the final ridership numbers tallied for May, but bus drivers and riders are reporting fuller-than-usual buses, some standing-room-only. Particularly on the Express routes, personal space is becoming a premium.

We’re working hard to provide some relief, and expect to have a number of supplementary services in place within a week. As of today, we have restored certain trips on Express routes 982 and 983 that were removed when UT’s spring semester concluded. These routes typically go to a reduced frequency for the summer, when fewer people tend to ride. However, we have moved them back into a full-service schedule because of demand.

Wherever feasible, we’ve also made best use of our bus fleet to alleviate crowding. For example, if a 35-foot bus is assigned normally to a route, and that route is near capacity, but another route is not very crowded and uses a 40-foot bus, sometimes we can swap the buses.

By next week we expect to have additional buses assigned to provide some additional capacity on the busiest express routes.

Capital Metro is in a fairly good position to handle a large increase in ridership during the summer, because some routes are not in service while school and college are out. (Ergo, we have more resources available to deal with crowding on other routes). It becomes more problematic in the fall, when the majority of our buses and bus drivers are scheduled. And that doesn’t take into consideration the costs involved with adding frequency to a route… it’s expensive. I’ll post more about that in a few days.

6 thoughts on “Getting Cozy on the Bus

  1. pioneergrrrl

    You’d ALWAYS have EVEN higher numbers if this agency finally and effectively required all drivers to wait until the bus was empty.

    Then they would have to click on a ‘not in service’ sign each and every time before taking a personal break for any reason.

    Already successfully being practiced by other Texas public transit agencies, the practice will at last make Capital Metro a reliable and legitimate community resource.

    Austin is the first city where I’ve seen ‘help wanted’ ads not requiring courier duty explicitly ask for reliable transportation. And we’re allegedly supposed to be a ‘green city’. Hah!

    Enough is enough, quit coddling goof-off drivers! They waste both tax-payer time and gas money, particularly stranding those of us who will never be able to drive because of medical reasons.

  2. justmythoughts

    Pioneergrrl, have you ever asked the bus driver what’s the deal with the stop and and how long he’ll be stopped?

    Personally, I find myself more annoyed when I don’t know what’s going on. But from what I’ve learned as a rider so far, drivers take mini breaks for various reasons such as to get back on schedule when they are ahead or to take a short break to stretch their legs. And as for me, I’d prefer a person driving a bus I’m on not stay safe and take breaks as needed.

  3. Robert James Morales

    I’ve had experience on multiple occasions where the driver was ordered to park the bus until a replacement vehicle came. This usually takes 20 minutes or more, and is usually on a route where I’m *going* to work. I usually just get out and walk the rest of the way, but there are plenty of people who wouldn’t be able to do that — they are stuck with the 20-minute delay on a bus that, to them, seems to be just fine.

  4. Adam

    I would love more 982 routes going south in the morning. I took a later bus today and for the first time in June, I got to sit down on the bus going downtown. There are often 15 or more people standing. Some decide to drive and don’t get on or it would be even worse.

  5. James

    For some reason, CapMetro stopped using the large tour-style (MCI) buses on the 7 AM trip for #935 as of the last mark-up. When that trip leaves now, there are frequently 10 people remaining at Tech Ridge.

    Unreliable service is no way to reduce congestion or to dump the pump!

  6. Gloria Cobain

    There is no non-emergency reason for the *drivers* to not be driving after passengers have boarded and already paid our fares.

    Breaks should only be taken when passengers are off the bus and a ‘not in service’ sign is clicked on. This ensures a driver can rest and a prospective passenger will not board expecting to travel to their needed destination.

    It is already standard practice throughout the entire public transit industry. And a Capital City whose transit agency has been running since 1985 should not continue delay of implementation here.

    There is no reason why passengers need to be on board for the driver’s personal break.

    This only holds up our schedules when we could instead have boarded a working bus.

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