Rapid Bus Demo

You may have seen this bus rolling around Austin recently and thought to yourself “what is that?”. It’s a 2008 Nova LFX demo bus and it’s just one of several different models that Capital Metro is considering for MetroRapid. Our transit planners and operators have been testing it out on the streets of Austin the past few days. So far, many are impressed by the way it looks, rides and drives.

The 62-ft articulated bus has 56 seats but it can be manufactured to have up to 62 seats. This particular bus has three wide doors. It’s very roomy and quite comfortable. You might think the size limits its turing ability, but that’s not the case. The bus can manuever around the same as a 40-ft bus.

This type of bus would be assigned to only the MetroRapid routes. The first two routes will be along North Lamar/South Congress and Burnet/South Lamar. Click here for more info on MetroRapid.

12 thoughts on “Rapid Bus Demo

  1. vindobonensis

    Thanks for posting an update on MetroRapid, Misty!

    Can you give us some detail as to what attributes Capital Metro is looking for (and how they are ranked) in its evaluation of different models? Can you give us a list of other models under consideration?

    Perhaps you might consider getting feedback from Austin residents, such as by scheduling demo rides or demo walk-throughs (perhaps similar in format to the MetroRail open houses or hydrid bus demo at the AltCar Expo).

  2. M1EK

    It would also be nice to confirm the details of the routing of the service; especially the portion which supposedly serves UT. The previous communications have left most of us with the impression that it's on Guadalupe, but the most recent images make that appear not to be the case – it LOOKS like the rapid bus service continues down Lamar to MLK; then continuing south on the Guadalupe/Lavaca couplet from there; but that's kind of difficult to believe, too.

  3. Erica McKewen

    Well, they aren't ranked, but we're looking at criteria such as:

    – User friendliness (accessible, comfortable, enjoyable to ride)

    – Style (looking for something that is distinctive and sets the vehicle apart from our 'traditional' bus service)

    – Cost (must fit within project budget)

    – Environmental friendliness (clean diesel or hybrid…potentially constrained by cost)

    – Operational characteristics (must be able to navigate the route, be bus-operator friendly, have sufficient capacity, etc.)

    – Maintenance characteristics (need durability, etc.)

    There are numerous bus models out there, including vehicles from New Flyer, NABI, Gillig, Daimler, etc. Our preferences include manufacturers that meet the Buy America requirements and that have "BRT-style" vehicles in both standard (40-foot) and articulated (60-foot) styles.

    We appreciate the suggestion to gather community input on the vehicle selection and will consider ways that we might accomplish this while still maintaining the integrity of our procurement process.

  4. Erica McKewen

    M1EK: sorry for the slow reply! The routing for the N. Lamar / S. Congress line is Lamar to Guadalupe to the Guadalupe/Lavaca couplet southbound and vice-versa northbound, NOT Lamar to MLK.

  5. M1EK


    Thanks – then the maps are needing some work – they show the service making a large jog at MLK to the Guad/Lavaca couplet (as well as appearing to go down the Lamar side of the Triangle).

  6. MvxzW

    I like to see that Capital Metro is implementing rapid bus transit. I work for the St Louis Metro, and we're considering adding a rapid bus service later on. Right now we're struggling to maintain funding for operations however. I'll check out your site for more ideas about spreading transit information to the public. If you want to read more about what the St Louis Metro is doing, hop over to the blog I write for, http://www.nextstopstl.org

  7. Ed Easton

    Mike — I think the map is alright, actually.

    The large jog is little too large but as you know Guadalupe does jog to the east just south of MLK — I think that's all that is.

    And I think you've mistaken the two grey squares labeled "TX Health and Human Services Complex" for the Triangle. There are two faint leader lines to the two TX HHS squares — the "Triangle" label actually refers to the MetroRapid stop on Guadalupe — not one of the boxes — and appears to be in the right place.

  8. M1EK



    Look at the area around UT. There's a gray north/south line there too (what road is that supposed to be? My guess was Guadalupe; obviously wrong; but I wasn't the only one among my group of transit enthusiasts who was confused).

    The jog is many times too large – and the inset map doesn't make it clear enough either – perhaps the inset should go a block or two north of MLK to make it clear what's going on.

  9. Ed Easton

    It's a reference map Mike and as such is not be used for navigation.

    Generalizing detail is a part of making any small-scale map and while this effort isn't particularly great it is fine for its purpose — to give people a general idea of the two routes. (I would also point out that Parmer Lane is missing, for instance.)

    Did you or your transit enthusiast group members attend one of the three Rapid Bus workshops that Capital Metro held in June, 2008? At each of them we had a number of detailed maps available mounted on boards and invited feedback.

    If you weren't able to get to one don't worry — I am confident we will hold further outreach events as the project progresses.

  10. M1EK

    Ed, the tone of your comment is a bit off-putting. I have no interest in attending sessions which purport to be seeking public input but are really marketing efforts to put the stamp of public participation on top of an already-decided plan.

    I got the Rapid Bus pitch in 2004 in private with two other UTC members before this plan was ever unveiled to the public, by the way, in case you folks forgot.

    While I and others had already been operating under the continued assumption that the route would be on Guadalupe in front of UT, there were no materials from Capital Metro available on your website that directly answered that question; and the maps became actually less clear as they evolved, making us have some doubts. It's not that hard to publish the route in detail – and it's not that hard to directly answer very simple questions.

  11. Ed Easton

    I brought up the public input sessions because the large-scale maps presented at those were the same maps used to create this one.

    Our Marketing Department makes maps based on GIS files given to us by our Planning Department. We import them into Adobe Illustrator and there is some necessary generalization that occurs to make the map more readable. Any making the map "less clear" was just poor cartography, not an attempt to mislead or cast doubts.

    In the spirit of public participation I am happy to go in and do my best to "correct" the map for you Mike, although I am going to think of you every time I have to jog left to avoid the 7-11 at Guadalupe and MLK.

    Look for an updated one on our website in the next few days.

  12. M1EK

    Ed, I did not mean to imply that you were being purposefully misleading; but, rather, that the comment about missing the meetings was kind of inappropriate given that those of us with day jobs and families (and babies in the hospital) have little time to spend on 'public input' meetings that are just a charade anyways; and thus rely heavily on the web site, which, honestly, ought to be at LEAST as informative and deep as the public meetings; arguably a lot more.

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