New MetroRail schedules, Jan. 2011

Capital Metro has proposed some scheduling changes to MetroRail service beginning in January 2011.

The highlights:

  • Every peak trip (southbound in the morning, northbound int he afternoon) would serve all nine stations.
  • Reverse trips (northbound in the morning, southbound in the afternoon) would serve all stations between Kramer and Downtown, with one trip in the morning and afternoon serving all stations.
  • Time adjustments allow for a later morning arrival (9:30 a.m.) to Downtown.
  • Service would be provided to all stations between Lakeline and Downtown between 9:19 a.m. and 4:02 p.m.

The schedules:

Proposed MetroRail Schedules - Jan. 2011. Click the picture to get a full-size image.

What do you think of the proposed schedule? Let us know! Comments are welcome, or you can email us. Or, take the survey.

Download the Proposed MetroRail Schedule as a PDF.

29 thoughts on “New MetroRail schedules, Jan. 2011

  1. matt

    Love the addition of a later morning train, but am definitely going to miss that 6:05pm northbound out of downtown. Over an hour between trains seems like a lot.

  2. Marshall

    It’s humorous that the PDF with the new schedule has a picture of a Leader bound train and the new midday routes won’t even serve Leander.

    Seriously not even a single midday train with service to Leander? Wicked bummer.

  3. parker

    i am so excited to see this happen now i dont have to take the bus to near metric i am looking forward to this my question why are ya’ll talking about moving the 240 from the rail station and move it to burnet and braker so when this happens there will be no more connection from kramer to down braker metric area that is annoying to have to walk daily is there going to eventally be another route to cover the people down braker and lamer to kramer the i realize the 392 will do it but acully try having a route go down metric lamplight where all the apartments are that might also get alot of people to ride

  4. chrysrobyn

    Since the train goes where I want it to go, this fixes part of the service hours problem I have. I’d still like another train at night, and several when things are happening downtown. Weekend service is notably still missing — I believe this is a consequence of sharing with freight rail, despite generally not seeing freight running on weekends.

    Of course, there’s still the issue of fixing the pricing structure and connections.

  5. What I’m wondering is – what will it do to the number in this picture:

    and will Capital Metro ever publish that figure again?

    Just remember, folks, every dollar spent on this train that doesn’t go anywhere worth going is a dollar that can’t be spent on the city’s urban rail plan (that actually goes places worth going) or on existing bus service (like the 984/986 routes that are being forcibly consolidated to make rail look better).

  6. Glad to see the service changes, this adds another day during the week when I can ride *and* makes it possible for me to ride even if I have to take the kiddos to pre-K & day care instead of my wife.

    J

  7. Jason K

    My #1 concern right now isn’t addressed in the changes. I currently ride the 5:30p NB to Leander, but I ride the bus into town in the morning because the online trip planner suggests that by taking the 6:35a SB I might risk missing the connector bus when I arrive downtown @ 7:37 and the bus leaves @ 7:40. Currently the planner will not even return this option because the default params are set to match Metro’s oft-stated suggestion of arriving 5-10 mins prior to departure. If I knew for certain that the connector would always wait for that inbound train then I’d ride twice as often.
    I bet I’m not the only one wishing they could depend on the train for an 8:00am arrival to work without having to leave @ 5:50.

  8. Jason K

    Also, I find M1EK’s comment rather dubious or at least uninformed. Anyone in business knows you’re going to see initial losses on a new venture due to the nature of new product adoption. The numbers in that link are skewed by by the simple fact that those stats were collected so early in the product life cycle. Those numbers certainly don’t represent current use. Yesterday and today both the evening NB trains were standing room only.

    1. Walter

      Actually M1EK appears to be a pretty knowledgeable misanthrope who believes that the only way to bring a system (light rail) that might benefit him to town is to hope that the Red Line fails and fails quickly. So he’s trying to bring it down in the hope that Metro banks the money saved by its failure for another time and another system. I agree with him that if passenger numbers were Capital Metro’s goal I don’t think running out to the east side is where I would have located the tracks, but now that the train is here my fellow passengers and I love it and it seems that more and more people who try it do too. Let’s hope it succeeds and the recent uptick in riders is good to see.

      I think the adjustments and midday expansion are a great move. But find a way to keep the 6:05 out of downtown. An hour is too long to wait between 5:30 and 6:30.

      1. Walter, actually, it won’t benefit me either way – I work in Westlake – but the 2000 LRT plan predicted more than 40,000 boardings/day; and I think that might have been conservative given developments in the Triangle and West Campus.

        That plan is now dead – killed by the Red Line – you know, the one that might approach 1000 boardings/day with the recent uptick.

        The city’s urban rail plan, a pale shadow of the 2000 LRT plan, would still carry north of 20,000 boardings/day.

        That plan is in the process of being killed by the Red Line.

        The Red Line, don’t forget, accrues a large portion of its small benefits to those who don’t live in the Capital Metro service area (don’t pay taxes to support the system). IE, a Cedar Park or Round Rock commuter may shave a minute or two off his commute on the Red Line; but Austin, the locale that pays something like 93% of the bills, gets precisely nothing.

  9. Kirk

    Seems to me both CapMetro and City of Austin are missing an opportunity here. CapMetro is gearing up to run Bus Rapid, at a substantial cost. While the vehicles are going to be nice, and service may be a bit faster, it’s simply not going to be enough of an improvement to justify the expense.

    In the meantime, the city is pushing forward with a modified and gutted version of the original 2000 LRT proposal, which will still cost $1.5 billion (or more).

    Why not work together? Rather than light rail, City of Austin could dedicate traffic lanes to bus rapid, which is absolutely essential to making this technology successful. While not as sexy as light rail, it’s easier and cheaper to implement, and could eventually serve a similar number of riders.

    1. Kirk, actually, BRT if implemented to those standards is more expensive than light rail in the long-run, and still significantly less attractive to riders. (Operating costs are much higher and capacity a bit lower – and capital costs are almost as high if you dedicate lanes).

      Also, the city’s urban rail plan does not replicate any portion of the 2000 LRT plan (except possibly the segment which might run on Congress). It’s a disappointing fact that we won’t have political will to run trains on Guadalupe in front of UT where they need to be because without the full urban-PLUS-suburban ridership of the 2000 route, we can’t justify taking away a travel lane; and without a dedicated lane, it’s actually worse than buses.

  10. Ralph l.

    If the train does not serve Leander what is the point? Don’t you think people in Leander need a train during Mid Day service and what about evening service on weakends?

    1. Misty

      Ralph,

      It’s a matter of limited resources, infrastructure and scheduling capabilities. We will only be using two trains during the midday at 60 minute intervals and can not run the entire line. As additional resources and infrastructure become available, we will look to eventually provide service along the entire line with added frequency and expanded hours/days of operation.

      Leander riders can either ride the train to Lakeline and transfer to Route 983, or pick up that route downtown for a ride all the way back to Leander.

      Our board decided to hold off on Friday night and weekend service. However, the FY2011 budget includes rail service for four Friday nights (to test out the service) and three Saturdays (tbd).

  11. mark m

    Too bad I won’t be able to ride the train anymore once the changes take place. I tried to ride twice a week and had to take a half hour vacation each day to make my schedule fit. Now that the early northbound morning train from downtown has been cancelled and I won’t get to Howard until 7:52 instead of 7:18 I would have to take an hour vacation which I doubt my supervisor will allow. Anyway, I enjoyed the last few months. See ya!

  12. Ralph l.

    too bad penny wise dollar foolish If I have to go to lakeline I might as well take my car. Also Friday Night Service and Saturday Night service is the part that will make money 7 times a year and if it does not run from Leander won’t be a incentive to me and many of Leander residents to ride the train. I have lived here 15 years As I have said in the past Florida has trains running all day long and Friday Nights they share the rail lines and have feeder buses and are quite successful. I’m afraid this plan will turn off a lot of people and the train will loose money.

    1. Misty

      Ralph, let me clarify. It’s only the midday service that would go between Downtown and Lakeline. Friday evenings and Saturday service would most likely be the entire line, Leander to Downtown.

    2. Ralph, Tri-Rail is by no means a success. Its ridership has been falling off the last couple of years and is still nowhere near projections made 20 years ago that were supposed to be achieved 10 years in the past. Without the magnet students, it’d look even worse.

  13. Ralph l.

    Hate to disagree with you, but According to these articles Tri Rail ridership is increasing. In fact they are now running every half hour based on these two articles.

    Tri-Rail gains ridership

    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2008-05-10/news/cfbriefs10_8_1_tri-rail-miami-dade-funding

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri-Rail

    “The completion of the New River rail bridge and the addition of a second Colorado Railcar diesel multiple unit (DMU) ushered in sweeping changes to Tri-Rail’s operational timetables. Tri-Rail added several more trains during peak weekday commuting hours in June 2007. During “rush-hour,” trains run every half-hour rather than the previous schedule of every hour. This change comes at quite a fortuitous time in Tri-Rail’s operation history. With gasoline prices at record highs–particularly in South Florida’s sprawling metropolis–Tri-Rail has seen a double-digit percentage increase in ridership in mid-2007″

    TRain Schedules

    http://www.tri-rail.com/rider_info/stm_wday.asp

    Tri Rail Website in South Florida

    http://www.tri-rail.com

    1. Ralph, that’s way out of date. 2007-2008 was the large spike in gas prices; ridership has dropped quite a bit since then and is now just on a long-term trend of approximately overall growth in population.

      You can get much more recent figures from the APTA; I made a spreadsheet a couple months ago for a blog post I have yet to write but here’s the scoop:

      1996 average ‘weekday unlinked trips’: 7475
      2000: 7381
      2004: 10243
      2006: 10281
      2007: 12660
      2008: 14685 (end of huge gas price)
      2009: 12900
      2010 (1Q): 12500

      I’m from there, by the way.

    2. Went back and looked at the charts – the much higher correlation was to gas prices; ridership actually grew higher than rate of population growth by quite a bit – but it grows/drops directly with price of gas (this stuff was for a post I never wrote about the claim that double-tracking the line was responsible for the big jump in ridership – and would be responsible for a big jump in ridership here).

  14. Ralph l.

    What part of South Florida? Anyway 12500 a day beats Capmetro by a mile even with their holiday and weekend schedule and the figures that you quote is not that far from the high of 14700. My only problem is that if Capmetro wants to make light rail to succeed it must have a schedule and route that will work and is realistic to the needs of the people who will pay for the transportation and make money for the system. In my opinion that means at the very least Friday Evening and or Saturday Evening schedules more routes at mid day from Leander and also feeder buses that will be routed to the train stations so people will be able to transfer to buses to get to their work. One example for that is a bus from the train stop at the domain to the domain and then to IBM and other companies in the area of the station. Continuing the bus from the station evening to the domain so that people can take the train to shop or eat at the Domain. That my two cents.

    1. Boca Raton.

      12500 on 70+ fully double-tracked miles running all day through an area with many times our population and a demographic which was initially far more transit-positive than here is a pathetic achievement.

      Compare/contrast to Houston’s light rail line – about a tenth as far; about half as much population near the line; and 3 times as many boardings, and not having to rely on the captive audience of magnet students for a big chunk of the total.

      Feeder buses are a loser among people with real jobs. I can’t believe this is still a topic for discussion after what was clearly shown in South Florida, but apparently it is. I worked for years within a short feeder-bus ride of the Yamato Tri-Rail station.

      1. Adam

        Are you gearing up for the Owls/Longhorns match up next month? (Although FAU probably hadn’t started its football program when you lived down there.)

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