New Kramer Connection

New Route 466 Kramer Rail Connector will debut Aug. 22

Capital Metro’s Fall Service Change is right around the corner. August 22 to be exact.  This year there are many changes to the bus system that will improve route directness and connectivity, but one route in particular will help improve access to and from Kramer Station.

Route 466 is a new rail connector route that will be timed to meet the trains at Kramer.  Similar to the rail connectors at Downtown and MLK, the route will quickly circulate from the station to areas of employment and popular destinations.  Route 466 will offer direct access to IBM, National Instruments, the UT-Austin J.J. Pickle Research Campus and the Domain.  Check out the route here.

More details about the route and schedule are coming soon.  You can learn about all of the upcoming service changes on our web site.

32 thoughts on “New Kramer Connection

  1. Therefore showing that you guys learned absolutely nothing from the underwhelming ridership of the shuttles at MLK and downtown. Sigh. The more things change…

  2. chrysrobyn

    How does the amount of time it takes to walk from IBM down the tracks to the station (or vice versa) compare to the long way around the Domain and JJ Pickle?

    I want to like the train. I’ve ridden CapMetro busses before (and liked it). I work right in this area. I live one train station North. I don’t see how you can successfully service JJ Pickle and NI with the same bus.

    1. Lucy

      The bus runs both ways on the route shown; you should never have to ride the long way around.

      Itis illegal, as well as unsafe, to walk down the tracks; please don’t do it!

      1. Lucy

        You are correct that the bus does the loop at this time; the only alternatives to taking the long way are walking, biking, or a van shuttle. If IBM is interested in a company van shuttle, RideShare can help.
        Apologies for my mistake!

      2. Scott Wood

        How can the bus run both ways on the one-way frontage road? That’s illegal and unsafe too. 🙂

        If it’s actually two-way service, that’s not what’s portrayed on the route map linked above (and it would have to skip the National Instruments stop in one direction).

      3. chrysrobyn

        No chance I’ll be taking the train anyway. Too expensive, bad hours, and poor connections on both sides.

        Aside from that, I’ve never understood why it’s unsafe to walk along the tracks. There’s 20 feet on either side. Might as well use that space. If you paved it with a sidewalk, the same space would be legal, right? If a pedestrian can walk over the tracks the same as a car can drive over then, a pedestrian should be able to walk in the same direction.

  3. Chris

    I use this station about 1 a week at most. There are major gaps in sidewalks leading to station, weeds overgreen along part of the dirt trail where a sidewalk should be, yet the route description for route 392 states that it serves Kramer, though in reality it forces you to walk about 3 blocks to the station. This wouldn’t be bad, if there were sidewalks, but Kramer is not particularly pedestrian friendly. This route along with route 3 should be altered to actually go directly to that nice new stop for route 240 that hardly ever gets used. It isn’t far out of the way and would bring new passengers to the train stop. I’d much prefer the train to the bus, however the extremely poor connectivity and infrequent bus service makes it time consuming and difficult. Unfortunately, I must use the 392 bus to get to Kramer, so the shuttle bus will not serve my needs. If Capmetro is turning off people predisposed to taking the train, no wonder so few others are riding the rail.

  4. Scott Wood

    The new alignment of 383 on Pond Springs seems to be pretty stingy on stops — you’re removing 8 stops and adding 4, with almost a mile between stops.

    I’d add stops on the east side of Research/Anderson Mill (commercial center), Pond Springs/San Felipe (lots of apartments down San Felipe), and Pond Springs/Turtle Rock (some commercial, breaks up a 0.8 mile no-stop span), and at least northbound at Pond Springs/Research (commercial center, and breaks up a 0.6 or 0.8 mile no-stop span (depending on whether there’s a San Felipe stop)).

    I agree with Chris about routing the 3 and 392 on Kramer Lane — I’d extend that to the southern part of the Domain as well, as was recommended for 392 in Service Plan 2020.

  5. All the talk about moving the buses around is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, folks. In aggregate, people who drive today will not ride a train that forces them to transfer to a shuttle-bus; no matter how great that shuttle-bus is.

  6. Jason

    M1EK, for your information many rail systems use bus connectors, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Albuquerque, Dallas, Seattle and Miami (just to name a few). While most of these cities do not specifically refer to these routes as “Rail Connectors”, all of these systems have bus routes that provide timed transfers with their rail system. Also, I do not believe that the Rail Connectors are a large deterrent to using the MetroRail. Rather, I believe that ridership is low due to the infrequent level of service and the high fares (which should be reduced to match the Express bus routes that compete with the MetroRail service!)

    Also, I agree with the previous comments that route 392 should be realigned to directly serve Kramer Station. From what I can see, only 1 stop in each direction along Braker Lane would be eliminated (while a new stop would be added at Kramer Station). I honestly do not understand why this change was not included with the Fall 2010 service change, since it is mentioned in Service Plan 2020.

  7. Erica

    This comment is from Lucy Galbraith, manager of TOD for Capital Metro:

    People take transit if the total trip works better for them than the alternative. The major determinants of that include cost (fare v. gas, parking, etc.) and time (total door to door time) although recently the stress factor (leave the driving to someone else v. driving on MoPac) has become more important. (There are other factors, but these are the big ones.) Mode transfers happen all the time; the idea that people will not use transit unless the service is nonstop was widely accepted in the last century, but has proven to be untrue in more recent experience.

    We agree that the sidewalk problem on Kramer is serious; we are trying to get some help on this. It is not usually the transit agency’s job to build sidewalks, and the current financial climate makes it more difficult than ever for Capital Metro to fill in gaps left by others.

    We have bike patrons using this stop, and are exploring ways to install some way to lock a bike overnight securely.

    If your employer has any interest in setting up a shuttle from the train station as part of our vanpool system, then please have them contact our RideShare program:
    477-RIDE or email us at alternative.transit@capmetro.org

  8. Jason, using cities with mature rail systems and large populations of people who are transit dependent by choice as your examples isn’t really appropriate.

    Cities STARTING rail systems have experienced success if and only if the initial line delivers a large number of passengers to their office/school without a bus transfer. Those who have tried it the way we’ve tried it have all seen results like we have seen – uniformly disappointing.

    Lucy’s comment forwarded by Erica is absolutely untrue. The most obvious example of a rail system like ours is South Florida, which after more than 20 years of all-day service is still pitifully pathetic compared to any decent light rail line – even far shorter ones like Houston’s.

  9. Oh, Jason, I replied too quickly – Albuquerque’s service penetrates their downtown while ours doesn’t; Miami’s heavy rail service is a marginal success but Tri-Rail (the commuter service which serves the whole region and relies mostly on shuttle transfers) is an abyssmal failure – as expressed above. Seattle’s commuter service penetrates their downtown too – but is still peanuts compared to their so-far-not-exactly-setting-the-world-on-fire LRT.

  10. Sorry, once again monopolizing the comments while on a business trip.

    Finally, the contention that the problem with MetroRail is the hours and not where it runs is ludicrous – most successful urban rail systems see huge surges in demand during rush hours and light demand the rest of the day. I can tell you that the trains Tri-Rail runs during non-rush-hours are far more empty than the mostly-empty ones they run during rush-hours.

    1. chrysrobyn

      M1EK,
      I have three problems with the trains, and one of them is the hours. If I have to stay late at work and come home after “peak”, instead of jumping one station North, I have to take some pokey bus from Braker & Burnet to Tech Ridge, and then the miserable 243 home. That’s an hour and a half. Additionally, if my wife can’t take the kids on the train downtown any old time she wants to, she’ll never think of it in the first place– that’s a major barrier to adoption and it breeds another generation of people who think that mass transit is only for poor people.
      For anyone not keeping track, trains are stupidly expensive for any in-town riders. A ride from Howard to Kramer is offensive.
      It’s nice CapMetro recognizes that connector busses aren’t useful, but the 466 isn’t useful yet. When a person gets off a train, they should be able to get on a bus in 5 minutes or less, and get to their work place in 10 minutes or less. If that can’t happen, it’s not a useful “employment and destination” circulator. Mass Transit shouldn’t be more than twice the amount of time driving would take. A few weeks ago, CapMetro had a coupon for free rides all day. It wasn’t worth my time to take them up on it.

  11. chrys, I agree the hours can be a problem for some – but for most people it’s not an issue; most people riding the train now get on at one of the park-and-rides and get off at MLK or downtown. There are express buses running all day and into the night that serve the two primary park-and-rides and actually go straight to the employment centers – which explains why so few people are riding the train, if you think about it.

    1. Brad

      M1EK – Correct me if I’m wrong, but in the original 2000 plan this part of the line would’ve still used the existing freight corridor, so even under that plan, shuttle buses would still need to be used to service IBM, Pickle, etc. Unless there was some plan to move the route that I’m not aware of, which would’ve been better, but cost much more I’m sure.

      1. Brad,

        Correct – the 2000 plan also didn’t count on a lot of riders getting off at that station (at least not at first). It’s a sign of CM’s desperation that they’re now moving shuttlebuses up to a stop like this one.

  12. mark m

    Y’all are lucky to have sidwalks. At the Howard Lane we have to dodge traffic and then walk along the road to get to Northtech Business Center on Howard. There is no sidewalk and we have to walk at an angle next to the drainage ditch. Really hard on the ankles. As for fares it does cost more for me to ride from Satillo to Howard than to drive but I do it twice a week. I always pay 3.00 each way. The Satillo Plaza ticket machines have malfunctioned twice. I’ve notice a lot of other people who I’m sure don’t pay. It would make more sense just to make it free though people Austin Statesman would have a field day.

    1. chrysrobyn

      Mark,
      Not only is that not worth the money, but it sure isn’t worth risking your safety. If Howard & MoPac is dangerous enough to need red light cameras, you shouldn’t be walking anywhere near there.

  13. Don Dickson

    Intermodal transportation doesn’t deter me. Recently I went from South Congress Avenue to the DPS Regional Headquarters in Garland by taking a bus to a bus to a plane to a bus to a train to a bus. And I arrived a few minutes after 9 a.m.

    I thought it was pretty neat that that was even possible.

    The DART bus took me from Love Field to Mockingbird Station where I waited about five minutes for the train. When the train plunked me in Garland there was a bus waiting to take me to my destination.

    There is nothing intrinsically wrong with intermodal transportation. And I lived in Dallas a quarter-century ago when a few visionaries were only dreaming about building trains, and everyone else in town was swearing that they would never ride them. Believe me, they ride them.

  14. Don, most of the people that used to drive in Dallas that now ride light rail started riding because they didn’t have to ride a bus on the other end to get to their office.

    There’s a reason South Florida failed with Tri-Rail while Houston knocked it out of the park with METRO and Dallas did quite well with DART.

    There’s a reason the Red Line has failed while Portland/Seattle/Denver/Minneapolis/Phoenix have succeeded.

  15. Don Dickson

    That’s simply not what I observed in Dallas on my recent visit, or for that matter on any of my prior visits. Going and coming, there were bus riders who went to the train station, and train riders who hopped on one of the buses.

    I will grant you that the path of the Red Line in Dallas makes one heck of a lot more sense than that of the Red Line in Austin. But I doubt that intermodal transportation is the problem.

  16. Don Dickson

    One thing I learned from living outside New York City, and from living IN Manhattan and reverse-commuting to Staten Island and later to central New Jersey….you can’t always run the train through the densest growth….sometimes you have to plan the growth around the train. (“See also….Route 130,” which was paved essentially through the middle of nowhere, and is now a corridor for growth.)

  17. Don, the bus riders you observed were most likely bus riders before the light rail line was constructed – that’s what I mean. There’s been precious little evidence anywhere around the country that anybody who used to drive has been convinced to take a train+bus commute – while tons of them are willing to take a train+short walk commute.

  18. Don Dickson

    I dunno….I’ve also observed and had residents corroborate that traffic in Dallas doesn’t seem to be as bad as it was when I lived there in 1987, when it was horrific. In fact, for the most part it doesn’t seem as bad as 35 or MoPac during Austin’s rush hours.

  19. Don Dickson

    In fact, M1EK, I -have- noticed a change in the demographics of Dallas transit users. When I lived there in the ’80s, I felt very self-conscious riding those buses in my customary suit-and-tie and my lily white skin. Most of my fellow passengers were black ladies from south Dallas who were coming up to north Dallas to clean white people’s homes and care for their kids. I’m not exaggerating, I’d often be the only white guy on the bus.

    My more recent experiences on DART buses and trains have been COMPLETELY different.

  20. Don, lots of bus-only systems (including Capital Metro) also saw an influx of middle-class-looking riders the last couple of years for a pretty obvious reason.

  21. Pingback: MetroBlog year in review « Capital MetroBlog

  22. Darin Gillis

    I’m really sad to hear that as of August 22,2011 this route has been modified to NOT stop at National Instruments. Makes using the train for commuting to work there infeasible without a bike. Very disappoining capmetro…

    1. Misty

      Darin, ridership from NI was low despite outreach efforts to increase awareness among employees. Also, there was a strong interest from the community to provide service to the ACC Northridge campus. For these reasons, we realigned the route.

      We have a “last mile” program that could provide a vanpool between Kramer Station and NI. Is this something you and your colleagues would be interested in? ^MW

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