How to Ride MetroRail

Capital Metro’s training department created a how to ride video for MetroRail. The spokespeople in the video are Angelica Torres from training  and Tashina Pham from HR. (Incidentally, Ben Wear makes an appearance, too.)

Will we see you on the train this Monday?

8 thoughts on “How to Ride MetroRail

  1. chrysrobyn

    Have you fixed the $6/day / $70/month it would cost me to go from Howard to Kramer and back?

    I find it hard to believe that any planning commission could be aware of how much traffic gets on MoPac just south of Howard, and how much traffic gets off at Duval and still makes the decision to charge this much. They just finished adding lanes to that area, and it’s still a mess.

    My commute is less than 6 miles each way. If I get 30 mpg, I burn less than half a gallon every day. To compete, the train would have to cost me around $1.50 round trip. Heaven forbid I work late — a bus routed through Tech Ridge would increase my 15 minute commute to over an hour!

    How many Leander residents will need to get off at Howard or Kramer? What city dweller is CapMetro targeting with these stops and this price point?

  2. Jman

    Chrysrobyn, you gotta factor in more than just gas for your cost of driving. Maintenance comes out to 10 to 15 cents per mile. Some people factor in the cost of insurance, some don’t, but you’ve already got a car and unless you’re going to stop using it 100%, I wouldn’t bother factoring in insurance and car payments.

    Anyways, your round trip cost is closer to $3-$3.50 per day, and even that doesn’t make $6/day look any better.

    $70/month though, is a little bit better. There’s roughly 30 days in a month, which is about 4.3weeks. If you’re one of those people with a steady M-F 9-5 job, then that’s about 21 work days.

    The $70/month pass comes out to about $3.33 per work day, so compared to $3-$3.50, you still aren’t really saving any money.

    Such a small portion (Less than 10%) of the CapMetro budget comes from fares, I don’t understand why they don’t either lower the fairs or just drop them altogether.

    1. chrysrobyn

      Jman,
      I can’t count maintenance because it’s a fixed cost over time. With an in-town commute, maintenance is a fixed cost per months the car is owned, not per mile. Depreciation is going to make it a “used car sale” and not a “high mileage used car sale”. Sure, a commuter going from Leander to downtown will likely need to put extra maintenance on because of how many miles driven, but not someone like me. For me, the reality is that I need a car. Given that, I have insurance and maintenance at a fixed cost (I paid the car off a year ago, but payments would be a fixed cost too). Even if I granted the $0.10 per mile, I would be under $2.70. This train isn’t any panacea of convenience — it’s a 2 mile bike ride from my house (assuming they cancel the 243 or just reroute it so it never enters Wells Branch as planned) and another half mile from work — so let’s not make unreasonable assumptions to make the cost comparison look too close.

      Personally, I see 4 weeks in a month, accounting for holidays and only a little vacation. $70/4/5 = $3.50. Any month with more than a day of vacation blows that out of the water (conceivably 3-5 months of the year).

      I stand by my assertion that the train needs to be under $1.50 for in-town. I’ll go further and say that it won’t see significant in-town ridership until it’s a buck. Cross-town, it might make sense now, but supposedly the train is here to benefit more than just Leander residents.

      1. Jman

        Yeah you know once I think about it, the train is supposed to be commuter rail. Typically commuter rail is a rail line that connects outlying cities with the main city. So really that means it’s not even supposed to be ideal for in-town travel at all, and to be honest I’m not quite sure why it was even marketed as that way at all other than to get austinites to vote for it.

        I suppose if you drive less than 1,000 miles a month then maintenance would be time based. For example, with my car the service book says to change the oil either every 7.5k miles or 7.5 months, whichever comes first. Supposedly most Americans drive 12k miles per year.

  3. Don Dickson

    Even if riding the train is more expensive than driving, I think you ought to add in the intangible cost of stress and aggravation. Who wouldn’t rather be reading a book or a newspaper than gripping the steering wheel and keeping your head on a swivel hoping to avoid collisions?

    Driving in traffic is stressful, whether you realize it or not. I think it’s worth at least a dollar a day to take a less stressful ride to work and home again.

    1. chrysrobyn

      Don,
      If you’re going to ask me to add the intangible cost of stress and aggravation to driving 15 minutes down Thermal / Metric (my alternate since MoPac is terrible during the morning commute), how much should I add for biking the two miles to Howard Station when it’s 95+ or 40- degrees or raining outside? How much do I add for hurrying to a connecting bus, or if I miss it, having to walk up Burnet? (Can I walk along the ROW for the train tracks where those trails were supposed to go?) Both sides of the comparison have these intangible adders. CapMetro’s current solution isn’t stress-free for in-city dwellers. I’ve spent 6 months depending on CapMetro (in 2004 and again in 2006) and there are traffic variations beyond anyone’s control that make any dependency on a connecting bus stressful when buses are spaced out by 30 or 60 minutes. Most of my commute back then depended on the 983 being 5 minutes ahead of schedule so I didn’t have to wait half an hour for the next connection.

      As an aside, I’ll just point out that most of the “keeping your head on a swivel, hoping to avoid collisions” on Metric is because of buses who travel 5-10 mph under the limit and suddenly stop to pick up or drop off passengers, blocking a lane of travel. They’re so infrequent, it’s not much of a problem, though. It would be nice if there were pull off spots by stops.

      I’m posting here because I like the idea of mass transit, and I think we’re not too far off from having a solution that can start to attract riders in a big way ($4/gallon gas proved that). Current plans will not fix the problems in the subdivisions I’ve looked at. The train price is a big problem with that part of the puzzle. Bus routes are another, but I think someone is at least thinking about that part, even if I don’t agree with the solution.

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