First morning of MetroRail service

Even Spike from the Round Rock Express can't wait to ride the first train out of Leander this morning.

Capital Metro has completed its first morning of MetroRail service–I’m “reporting” from our mid-morning debriefing of all of our rail operations, station volunteers, passenger counters, security personnel, etc. As Director of Rail Bill LeJeune noted at the beginning of the meeting, “It was hard to see how anything could have gone better this morning.”

We had approximately 672 boardings this morning, including 39 bikes.  See more pictures behind the jump.

waiting to board the train
Leander Mayor John Cowman, right, with daughter Victoria and Capital Metro's Aida Douglas, rode the first train out of Leander this morning.
Armando lives in Leander and works at the REI at the Arboretum. He planned to ride to Kramer and then pedal the 6 miles to work. He was stoked.

4 thoughts on “First morning of MetroRail service

  1. Don Dickson

    I’ve already seen one snide media comment about the number of riders, but don’t pay any attention. People are going to ride this train, I’m certain of it.

    I think the 39 bikes is an astonishing number! That’s tremendous!

  2. Don, not all rail succeeds – as long as your definition of “succeeds” is something reasonable. Why would you be certain people will ride this train? Even I’m not CERTAIN people WON’T ride it in sufficient number to be a success – being certain is kind of a high standard.

  3. Don Dickson

    I’m equally certain that the traffic on 35 and MoPac will get worse over time, just as it has in each of my 15 years of living here. And in case you hadn’t noticed, the price of gas is up about one-third in the past twelve months.

    Not only am I certain that these trends will continue, but I also think you will see economic development along and in proximity to the rail line, which will lead to increased utilization.

  4. Don, Tri-Rail in South Florida has seen zero square feet of TOD (despite dozens of attempts) over the last 25 years. You get TOD after, not before, strong ridership from choice commuters (not just existing bus patrons).

    The shuttlebuses to UT and the Capitol (as well as most of downtown) will be suffering from increased traffic as well – although the gap between the train+shuttle and the car will close, gradually, in that scenario (there’s only so much worse traffic on those highways can get, though, realistically).

    Finally, gas prices drive people to buses too – all over the country transit systems saw ridership spikes when gas hit $4 – so did Cap Met – but this isn’t a reason to waste money on a useless commuter rail line that can’t attract anybody, long-term, who wouldn’t also have ridden the bus; it’s an argument for building GOOD rail that actually works for riders.

    Fundamentally, I see no evidence that you (as well as many others here) have any possible definition of “bad rail”. You ought to ask yourself why that is, and how that makes you anything more than a mirror-image of the guys on the other side (who think there’s no such thing as “good rail”).

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