A New Way To Work…

New MetroRail and Car2Go rider Traci

Brian Tracy said it best, “You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Thursday, a friend of mine decided to put Brian Tracy to the test and try MetroRail for the first time.  Here is what Traci J. had to say about trying a new trek to work.

[ck]  What made you decide to try MetroRail?

[Traci]  Several things really.  I am so tired of fighting traffic in the morning from Round Rock; but, it’s even worse trying to get home in the afternoon.  I don’t have air conditioning in my car at the moment.  We all know how summer in Texas can be.  I also wanted to minimize the wear and tear on my car so I don’t have to buy a new vehicle right away.  I thought making this change would help me save money on gas and save money on the tollway.  When I drive, it’s amazing how often I end up on the tollway to skirt around a traffic delay.  If I were to take the tollway every day, it would cost me eighty dollars a month (and it has).

[ck]  So…how was your experience on MetroRail?

[Traci]  I was surprised.  The experience was terrific!  It was so easy and I have so many options of how to spend my time in the morning on the train.  I can enjoy a cup of coffee, do a crossword, read a book or magazine (there are so many articles I have piled up at home that I can’t ever seem to get to), SLEEP, think, people watch, enjoy the view.  I get on at the Lakeline Station and today I saw deer and wild turkeys.  It’s much more exciting to see wildlife as opposed to brake lights.  It’s a nice quiet ride.  And lucky for me, I can zip on over to Kohl’s in the afternoon because it’s right by the train station.

[ck]  You said you had to leave an hour earlier, how did you feel about that?

[Traci]  I don’t mind at all since I have a short drive to the train station and I get to look forward to a relaxing commute.

[ck]  How far did you drive to the station?

[Traci]  I drove 9.2 Miles.

[ck]  Including your drive to the station, what was your total time of commute?

[Traci]  I left the house at 6:45 am.  I arrived at the station at 7:10 am and my train departed at 7:25 am and I arrived downtown at 8:12 am.  I walked two blocks to catch a bus that brought me straight to my office.  I was at my desk, complete with a scrumptious Royito’s breakfast taco in hand at 8:30 am!  That’s awesome!

[ck]  How did the experience differ from driving?

[Traci]  There is no comparison.  It is so much nicer and slower paced.  I feel like I finally have some time to myself instead of always rushing to get from Point A to Point B.

[ck]  I think the only thing s that I had to really adjust to was living by a schedule and getting around downtown during the day.  How will these two things affect you.

[Traci]  Getting around downtown is no longer a problem now that Car2Go, a new service that just launched Friday, is now available.  I can access a little Smart car if I need to get somewhere in a pinch for thirty-five cents a minute.  There’s usually a car within a short distance from you at all times.

[ck]   Will you continue riding MetroRail?

[Traci]  ABSOLUTELY!

20 thoughts on “A New Way To Work…

  1. Round Rock is not part of the Capital Metro service area; they don’t pay any taxes to support the system. Traci’s ride is being subsidized twice over thanks to this fact. Meanwhile, residents of Austin get no usable rail transit at all.

  2. Brad

    I was thinking the same thing. It seems funny that they would publize the case of somebody who doesn’t even live in the service area.

    Just to play devil’s advocate, it’s not like the train is running at capacity, so somebody from Cedar Park or Round Rock isn’t taking a seat from somebody in the service area. Of course, this fact just further demostrates the point(s) that M1EK and others have made about the Red Line.

  3. Chris

    I would ride the train just to avoid sitting in Mopac traffic (and simply because I prefer rail to bus), however, there is pitiful connection service to Kramer Station, buses aren’t timed to the train departure/arrival trains, there are no sidewalks connecting the station to the #3 bus, and I have to choose between walking in the street or walking through chest high weeds where a sidewalk should be in order to get there. Only one route (240) actually goes directly to the station.

  4. Brad, not only that, but it shows another thing I’ve been saying: most of the very minimal benefits of this line are accruing to those outside Austin, and most of those outside Austin don’t pay Capital Metro taxes (Leander being the only non-trivial exception).

  5. Brent

    Well, I guess if you people are so upset about a person using the train, then I guess you should have lobbied harder not to get the Metro rail in the first place! Obviously you do not use the services of the Metro rail that you already have paid for!

  6. Brad

    M1EK, hypothetical for you: I know you don’t want to sink any more money into the Red line, but if you could convince Cedar Park to join the service area and dedicate their 1% sales tax on the condition that Cap Metro builds them a station, would it be worth it? I’m inclined to say yes, but I don’t have any numbers to back that up.

  7. Austinite

    Traci, as a Round Rock resident, you don’t pay taxes that go into the the Cap Metro system. Your train fare is heavily subsidized by taxpayers in jurisdictions like Austin and Leander. By using services like Cap Metro and Car2Go, you’re being a bit of a freeloader.

  8. JMVC

    Thanks for buying the pass, Traci and for riding MetroRail. I bet you also occasionally buy lunch and shop in Austin, which means that you pay sales tax in Austin, therefore, despite where you live, YOU ARE contributing to Cap Metro’s revenue. It may upset some folks that our mission is to provide transportation choices to EVERYONE regardless of their income, residency, race, etc within this region, but it is our mission and we will continue to work very hard to make it happen. There is a lot to be said for equity with regard to who pays for this public service and who should benefit most. We could argue about it forever, but the fact would remain: the majority of Cap Metro sales tax is collected within the City of Austin AND the overwhelming majority of Cap Metro service is also within the City of Austin. MetroRail is an important, but very small part of what we do at Capital Metro. To simply judge CapMetro by MetroRail, ignores 95% of our other services to the community.

  9. Wendy Coffin

    “The MetroRail is here, and I’m glad that there is a Traci able to ride to work and enjoy the ride. I’m sure there are many people who go to work totally stressed from the traffic hassle. It’s here so enjoy and good for you Traci, I also like the idea of U2Car as an option.”

  10. Wendy Coffin

    “The MetroRail is here, and I’m glad that there is a Traci able to ride to work and enjoy the ride. I’m sure there are many people who go to work totally stressed from the traffic hassle. It’s here so enjoy and good for you Traci, I also like the idea of Car 2 Go as an option.”

  11. JMVC, thanks for chiming in. I take it you see no difference between somebody who buys a lunch once a month while in Austin and somebody who does ALL of their shopping here. Some of us are not so innumerate, though.

  12. JMVC

    you are correct. I see very little difference. Both deserve to be served as best as we can. If Cap Metro was to dole out service based upon the relative sales tax contribution of individuals, then I suppose we should cut service in low income communities as they contribute relatively less in sales taxes than higher income communities. But I don’t think anyone will be floating that idea anytime soon. As a public agency, our mission is serving everyone as best as we can with the limited resources we possess. By the way, I bet that very few people, including you, spend 100% of their money within the Cap Metro service area – I imagine you occasionally contribute sales taxes in some other town or state. And innumerate? No – just a different understanding of what the role of a public agency is and ought to be.

  13. Brad

    JMVC – You’re right that Cap Metro’s service should be open to anybody who wants to ride it regardless of income or contribution. I don’t think most people have a problem if somebody like Traci pays her money and rides the train. The frustration on this thread comes from the fact that the Red Line as constructed seems to beneift non-service areas over service areas.

    It also seems strange that the person Cap Metro found for this blog post to promote the Red Line was outside of the service area. Just from a PR point of view, it seems like it would’ve been better to find somebody in Leander or North Austin.

    1. Adam

      Capital Metro didn’t find her. The blog post was written by a customer who has graciously volunteered to share transit stories in this forum. Her posts have been great and have generated interesting discussions.

      1. Brad

        I understand that, but Cap Metro contols what gets posted and what doesn’t, right? There was nobody in the service area that came forward to write about their experiences riding the Red Line? It just seems if you want to full utilize this tool to promote Cap Metro, then you would’ve been better of siting an example of sombody in the service area, since those are the people who paid for a majority of the line.

  14. To assert that it makes no difference whether one lives in the service area or not would tend to make the point that we’d all be better off if our communities left the service area (and could then use that 1-cent sales tax for other purposes), right?

  15. What is there no service on weekends? Why Austinites against the rail anyway? California has had one for about 30 years and now have service about 30 minutes from San Diego. Get with it Austin.

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