12 thoughts on “Capital MetroRail Progress Report

  1. Life. Complicated.

    I am glad to see an update and that it appears the plan is in the last stage of that diagram that was posted earlier. I am also glad that there will be an update in “mid June” but skeptic of how mid June is defined. I would have much preferred a specific date that something would be posted by.

    I hope that the testing goes off without anymore derailing issues. It will be nice to have the train to talk to work, be able to be on the net on it and then to walk to work without all the hassle of I-35.

    Will CapMetro do a update earlier like they did with this time frame and then a final update in Mid June?

  2. logsatm04

    I have obviously been a harsh critic of capital metro rail. I appreciate the update, but I’ll admit I’m disappointed.

    I know you don’t want to set another start date and have something happen out of your control and then you have to move it again which makes you look bad…again.

    But continously giving us “we’ll check back in next month” is going to get just as old. If you want the public to trust you, be forthcoming about things. Such as how long is the “final comprehensive testing phase.”? There is a length to this right?

    Could you at least give us a target? or the idea that you have a target?

    Like I said, I’ve been very critical, but I will also been very complementary when it opens because I’ll ride it daily. I live in north austin, i’ll take the howard lane station and i’ll promote it like crazy.

    I hope this succeeds, I wish I knew when though?

  3. The Dude

    Well, they said mid-June, so that probably means June 15th. If not, at least before June 30.

    I wish they could just give us a worst case scenario start date. I’d guess by May 15, 2010 you should be able to ride the rails. Wasn’t the original launch day like by Fall 2008? Looks like there’s been at least a full year delay.

  4. Misty Whited

    Believe it or not, staff doesn’t even have a hypothetical start date. Besides opening the system, we have a lot to accomplish internally as well, such as training the bus operators on the rail connectors routes, uploading the new MetroRail content to the web site, updating educational materials, creating staffing patterns for all nine stations opening week to assist passengers and much more.

    As mentioned in the report, once this final testing phase is well underway, the agency will select a date. We are just as eager, if not more, to open the system. As soon as we know a date, you will know too.

  5. Life. Complicated.

    um, Misty… shouldn’t

    “such as training the bus operators on the rail connectors routes, uploading the new MetroRail content to the web site, updating educational materials, creating staffing patterns for all nine stations opening week to assist passengers and much more.”

    all of that already been staged and ready to go? IF this was supposed to launch just a short 2 months ago and was called off within 15 days of it, why wasn’t all of this already done?

    What has changed from then to now with the educational materials? Were you not going to set up opening week staffing until the week before opening? And, uploading web content isn’t that hard, plus it should already be created,right since you were only 15 days away from opening last time? OR were you? A long time ago, I said that something didn’t seem right. Well, your latest statement doesn’t seem right either. For as large of an organization as CapMetro is, they sure do leave a lot of stuff until just days before a well planned public launch. It is just sad.

    How about some more transparency?

  6. logsatm04

    Life Complicated hit it directly on the head. The original plan was Fall 2008 and it had been the projected plan for over a year, but then you weren’t ready so you pushed it back 6 months.

    6 Months is an appropriate amount of time to do all the things that you discussed. But you had a union strike and had to buy watches for everyone, so we’ll give you a month’s extra.

    Then you said, give us 1.5 extra months to “prepare an action plan” which was surprising because action plans usually come at the beginning of the project, not the end.

    So the latest at least provides us generally with some information and another future “update” to look forward to.

    I, and I belive most people, simply want to know if you have a plan, an idea of when it will be opened and what reason you have to keep it from the public.

  7. Misty Whited

    To answer your questions, we didn’t train the operators yet because we didn’t want to have to retrain them right before launch. We’ve always said the schedule was tentative until we tested it. If we find out the schedule is off by a few minutes, we’ll have to update educational materials and the web site. As for staffing patterns, we have to assign staff according to a new date. Some may be on vacation or out sick, etc. We’ve been planning for the opening since last year but we have to adjust our plans for a new date.

  8. Life. Complicated.

    My husband said this would probable open at the end of the year. The way this is going, I believe him…. Maybe it isn’t a a coincidence that it is across from the HEB Plus which took oh, 5 years to go in after it was promised in 2.

    As a project manager, something isn’t right. Either there is shoddy project management or something else is going on.

    Either way, more transparency is needed.

  9. M1EK

    Fundamentally, quite a lot of the things that are supposedly being worked on now would have had to have been completed for an earlier launch, and obviously weren’t. This calls into question the truthfulness of the agency on everything else, of course.

    Brushing this off as “well, we held off on operator training because we’d have to do it all over again” is nonsense. You supposedly decided to stop the rollout very shortly before the actual date – so some of that training, for instance, would have had to be underway by that point were you telling the truth.

  10. vindobonensis

    I agree with the sentiment of the other commenters about the items that supposedly need to be accomplished before opening. As an opening week volunteer, I had already been given educational materials which would have been handed out to passengers, with a tentative schedule, and it wasn’t going to stop the launch of Metrorail. And as far as your staffing patterns are concerned, you can tap a list of 100+ volunteers which you already have, most of which have already undergone training. As for the bus connectors on the rail connector routes, why not stage the rollout so as to phase in the connectors in the weeks after opening? Why do you have to withhold rail service for everyone who will not use a connector?

    Initially, CM claimed the primary reason for the delay was the safety of the passengers and the community. However, the remaining reasons you list do not seem strongly related to safety. Complete all the safety upgrades and open the system! I think we can deal with schedules that are a few minutes off and connector service that’s not synchronized perfectly.

  11. Jamie Bemoore

    I think what this has proved is that Capital Metro’s statements in March intentionally mislead Austin voters by blaming Veolia for the delay. Now, Capital Metro is admitting that Veolia has fixed most of their issues; however, MetroRail still cannot open because the system was NOT EVEN CLOSE to opening for other reasons in March.

    Given that it sounds like MetroRail trains just started practing the schedule, I would guess that MetroRail will open around July/August. This is assuming no other issues are found during construction.

    As a side question to Capital Metro, previously it was stated that some of the stimulus money was going to be used to construct more track to allow more frequent service. Do you have an estimate of when this will be completed (2010?) Also, are they going to purchase any additional rail cars to avoid the overcrowding?

  12. Parker Beaty

    I noticed the trains are going faster down towards the highland mall area. I was just wondering if full testing has started and out of all the crossing guards how many are still having issues after the grinding has taken place and went to the station at howard where i well being taking it from very nice well done

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