Detour Drama

If you tried to get around downtown over the Labor Day weekend, you know firsthand how difficult it was to navigate. Several special events closed city streets and created transportation headaches for everyone, whether you were in a car or a bus.

To those who were relying upon Capital Metro, we apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. Street closures are a big, big deal to us because they create detours for our bus routes and cause some bus stops to temporarily close—in essence they interfere with our business and make it hard for our customers to get around!

Don’t get me wrong. I love all the delightfully Austintatious events in this city, and a number of my friends and coworkers compete in the many foot and bike races in town. But speaking with my Capital Metro Employee Hat firmly in place, street closures are a real pain.

In order to effectively let our customers know about detours that will be in place for an upcoming event, we print and post signage for affected bus stops (and on the buses that run those routes) about a week and a half in advance, and then post the detour information to our Web site during the week before the event. We actually have a staff committee that meets every week to review and plan for special events detours. We also meet regularly with City of Austin staff (the city approves and implements the street closures for special events) so that we can develop bus route detours effectively.

Unfortunately the plans don’t always go smoothly, and the city closes additional blocks, or the streets are closed earlier than we anticipated, and our buses are forced to detour the detour, on the spot. When this occurs, our signage at bus stops and on our Web site is no longer accurate. During major events, Capital Metro’s field supervisors patrol the routes, looking for people who need help catching a detoured bus. With so many routes on detour this weekend, it was hard.

We will continue to work with the city to improve the coordination between them and us for street closures and detours. We have been monitoring closely the work of the city-sponsored Downtown Street Event Closure Task Force and are providing input to that group. Hopefully it’ll be a smoother ride for all of us in the future.

5 thoughts on “Detour Drama

  1. markphillip

    I almost missed a flight because of the detours downtown this weekend, needing to grab a cab downtown just to get to ABIA in time.

    I consider myself pretty in tune with what is going on with CapMetro and I had no clue there were any detours. If someone who subscribes to this blog and checked the site that morning for the schedule (I don’t see any detour postings in the recent news stories) didn’t know about the detours, how would the average rider?

  2. Don Dickson

    I appreciate the detour notices, but I wish they were a little clearer. When the sign says the detour will be in effect “until end of event,” I usually have no clue what that means.

  3. Tim

    You can signup for Detour emails on capmetro’s website. They actually do notify you.

    Just go here

    I got quite a lot about this past weekend.

    It would be nice if you guys could interface with google maps or something to print out detour maps. I find the detour directions a bit confusing to follow sometimes.

    But we did take the bus down to the Nike 10k and back, and even though we had to rely on the supervisor to get us home, we did get there.

  4. Catherine

    I also waited two hours for a bus that never came and had to take a cab home. There was no sign at my bus stop (just north of campus on Dean Keeton, I thought I was far enough away to avoid the detours but I guess not!) at all. The 22 and the 100 came to my bus stop but the 5 never did, which was the most annoying part because I held out false hope!

    There are so many events downtown maybe you should post standard detour maps on your website.

  5. willdav713

    I missed the 10 route during Bat Feast, Beer Festival, etc. because I noticed it went on Congress instead of Colorado “No Detour sign or notice” Earlier that day I was waiting for the 3 Burnet on 10th and Brazos and figured out later that the driver did not change the 10 sign into the number 3 and turned right on 7th and made a circle skipping the rest of their route on brazos, this time there was a sign but the sign did not say the bus was not going to go there. Where is the accountability? I have better luck finding it in Iraq or our 9 percent approval rating Congress than Capitol Metro.

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