Great Turnout in Leander

Wow! More than 1,000 people joined us today for the Capital MetroRail open house at the Leander Station. Visitors had the opportunity to tour the train, practice using the ticket vending machine and ask lots of great questions. With just a few weeks to go until the big grand opening event (Saturday, March 28– mark your calendar), it really was a amazing to see and hear how excited people are.

If you didn’t make it to today’s open house, we have more coming up this month. See Gerardo’s post for the complete schedule.

In addition to the MetroRail train, we also had an Express bus on display at today’s open house; and our friends at the Leander Fire Department showed off some of their trucks and equipment which were especially popular with the kids.





10 thoughts on “Great Turnout in Leander

  1. Parker

    so if all go’s well how long would it be or is it even possible to have an all day system that would benefit everyone through out the day and not just the commuters in the morning i would ride the system but it does not run during midday is there chance of that changing

  2. vindobonensis

    Adam, congratulations on a successful first Capital MetroRail open house event!

    Can the ticket vending machines already be used before Capital Metrorail starts (to purchase bus tickets)? I’m asking because I have a Metrorail station conveniently within walking distance.

    What can you tell us about the grand opening event on March 28 … are you planning all day free rides between Downtown and Leander and back?

    😉

  3. Adam Shaivitz

    Great questions. I’ll start with vin’s and then add a separate comment for Parker’s question. You won’t be able to purchase any tickets or passes at the TVMs on the station platforms until we start charging fares for MetroRail. And it’s important to note that any passes or tickets that you do buy on station platforms are automatically validated by the TVM. In other words, when you purchase a 31-day pass, the clock starts ticking on your 31-days as soon as the TVM spits it out. If you prefer to purchase multiple 31-day passes not to be used concurrently, you can still do that online, at our Transit Store or other retail locations. Those passes aren’t validated (starting the clock on your 31-days) until the first time you use them on the bus or, eventually, the train.

    In the near future, we’ll have more details available about the March 28 grand opening events. But the short answer is yes, you will be able to ride for free that day.

  4. Adam Shaivitz

    Parker, some system expansion is possible sooner, while other possibilities such as all day service would be much more of a long range option. Some of the major factors in how and when the system can expand are freight, fleet, and track. Freight trains run on the same track but not at the same time as passenger trains. So we still need to reserve time for the freight service. Since MetroRail is a startup system, we initially acquired six railcars. Significant service increases would require more. Capital Metro is planning to order more railcars very soon. It takes about two years to build them. We have added enough siding track to allow trains to pass for reverse commute trips. Adding more trips or increased frequency would require additional siding track, and we are investigating that option, too. Certainly new siding track could be built more quickly than the two years needed to build the railcars.

    This is a popular question and one on which we want feedback. At the rail station open houses, we’re asking potential rail customers what their preferences are for service expansion, given that we don’t have the resources to do everything all at once. This is one of the questions on the comment card we’re handing out: “When it opens Capital MetroRail will run during the morning and afternoons on weekdays only. Capital Metro hopes to expand MetroRail service in the future. Please rank each of the following in order of importance to you: Midday service, weekend Service, more frequent service in mornings/afternoons, service later in the evenings, other – please specify.”

  5. Parker

    Adam

    The trains are really attractive trains so is capital metro still get alot of attention from other city’s that are trying to build the same type of structure.To your previous writting i think weekends would do more better then the midday even know i think it would benefit because during midday most people are at work or no matter where they are weekends allow i think austin and leander to be more connected since they are planning multi development in the leander area i am how ever excited for the metro rail ya’ll are doing a great job and one more thing.Is there going to be anymore drills like leander downtown

  6. vindobonensis

    I’m also among the group of people who wish for more frequent service, especially more than 3 trips north in the morning and south in the evening since that’s the direction I’d be commuting.

    Adam, that’s great news that free rides will be available on opening day. I imagine it will be very crowded; have you considered perhaps running weekend service throughout April (and/or expanded service on weekdays) to introduce the trains to a wider audience than the people whose schedule fits with the current train schedule? I understand freight rail is a concern but can the freight rail time window be tightened for a couple of days of introducing service to a wider community?

  7. Adam Shaivitz

    Yes, we’ve had plenty of interest from other transit systems that are considering rail as well as those with projects underway. Just last week we had a couple of visitors from the Denton County Transit Authority. And yes, we are conducting more drills like the one in Leander.

    In addition to letting you ride free for the grand opening on March 28, we’re also planning free rides for the first week of regular service. This will give more people a chance to learn how to use the system.

  8. martin

    “When it opens Capital MetroRail will run during the morning and afternoons on weekdays only. Capital Metro hopes to expand MetroRail service in the future. Please rank each of the following in order of importance to you: Midday service, weekend Service, more frequent service in mornings/afternoons, service later in the evenings, other – please specify.”:

    My preferences:
    1. More frequent service in morning/afternoon *particularly later afternoon/early evening service until 7-8pm for those looking to work late or stay downtown after work for a while, secondly more morning frequencies in both directions

    2. Midday service

    3. Weekend service

  9. Alan

    I have serious doubts about this service as it stands. No weekend or evening service is a deal-breaker for me, as it might be for many others in Austin. And I’d have to walk 1.5 miles to the nearest station. I love to walk, but I hate pedestrian-unfriendly areas like Airport/Highland Mall.

    More stations, more frequent service, please! And I know about the freight train conflicts.

  10. Alan

    Another thing: with many bike riders like me interested in riding the rail system, I’m curious how bike storage will pan out, since I’ll bet many riders will be forced to ride their bikes to access their nearest station. In central Austin, space for bikes on bus racks is already a chronic problem.

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