Proposed January Service Changes

Capital Metro changes service three times a year, in conjunction with UT and AISD academic calendars. Service change proposals can vary from minor schedule adjustments to facility integration to large-scale route restructuring.

A critical component of the service change process is public involvement. Customer feedback helps Capital Metro fine-tune the service change package and ultimately improve service.

While most transit agencies across the country are reducing service, Capital Metro has been fortunate enough to maintain similar levels of service over the past few years. As a result, recent service changes have essentially been a reallocation of resources from underutilized routes or trips to areas and corridors with high ridership demand.

The following is a summary of the most significant proposed changes we are proposing for January 2012:

Route 3 Burnet/Manchaca
The Route 3 proposal includes a minor realignment between 11th and 29th Street. The primary reason for this change is to improve access to UT. Currently, many passengers ride the bus to West Campus and walk to UT. Another reason is to improve directness and reduce travel time to downtown by realigning service from Rio Grande and Nueces to Guadalupe and Lavaca. Guadalupe and Lavaca are important transit corridors for existing and planned services. Capital Metro is also working with the City of Austin to study the feasibility of transit lanes on the Drag.

Route 100 Airport Flyer
Route 100 has not performed well in terms of ridership productivity but it provides an important link to Austin Bergstrom International Airport. In recent years, Capital Metro cut several low-performing routes; Route 100 now sits near the bottom of the list and is failing to meet minimum ridership standards. Proposed changes to Route 100 focus on efficiency, directness, and simplicity. Realigning the route from 7th Street to a dense, high-ridership corridor like Riverside would draw riders seeking a faster trip to downtown. Shortening the route within UT would reduce (bus) running time. The northern terminus for Route 100 would be located along 23rd Street, the eastern hub for UT Shuttles. Streamlining the route within the downtown area would speed up service and make the route easier to understand. Stops would be located within ¼ mile of most hotels and attractions (Convention Center, Capitol, museums, etc.). Connectivity with MetroRail would also be improved by stopping at Downtown Station. In addition to the routing and stop changes, the biggest improvement for this route and its riders includes increasing the frequency to 30 minutes from 40 minutes.

Route 240 Parkfield
Route 240 has been tweaked a few times over the past year in terms of routing and schedule. The January 2011 service change included adjustments to several North Austin routes. Weekend service was added to Route 240 and service was realigned from Parkfield to a high-density corridor in Rutland (previously served by Route 1M). The proposed change for January 2012 seeks to realign the route from Parkfield, Payton Gin, Ohlen and Research Blvd to North Lamar to improve connectivity to shopping in the Lamar/Rundberg area, aka the International District.

Route 243 Wells Branch
Route 243 was shortened in January 2011 due to low ridership north of Wells Branch, which allowed an improvement in frequency along Wells Branch. The proposed change for January 2012 seeks to realign the route from Thermal and Howard Lane to East Wells Branch Parkway and Heatherwilde improve connectivity to shopping, which has been repeatedly requested by customers. The current schedule has enough flexibility to absorb this service extension without additional resources.

Route 990 Manor/Elgin Express
Route 990 was realigned in January 2011 to better serve major employers along Koenig and North Lamar. In partnership with the Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS), the route was extended to Elgin. Morning and afternoon trips were also added. Capital Metro is currently constructing a new Park & Ride in Downtown Manor, which will replace the current leased Park & Ride. The new facility will offer more capacity and is situated along the conceptual Green Line rail right-of-way. The 990 will be realigned to serve the new and improved facility, which is slated to be completed later this year.

Click here for more information on all of the service change proposals, including details on how to provide feedback.

20 thoughts on “Proposed January Service Changes

  1. Patrick

    I often take the Airport Flyer to and from ABIA. The bus has tended to be nearly full each time I have used it. I don’t have a problem with re-routing it; however, I would really hope that CapMetro has taken people’s luggage into consideration. As I mentioned, when ever I’ve taken the bus it has been full or nearly full. Often, people’s luggage can take up a bit of room and surpasses the capacity of the luggage racks of the bus. I wonder how typical bus passengers and potential air travellers will deal with this if you put more non-airport/non-flying passngers on the bus. I wonder if the bus has enough room to adequately accomodate airport travellers and their luggage along with new non-flying express riders? I’m not sure about this, but I hope you take this into consideration. If you do take this bus down Riverside, then charge the going Express route fares for this. Thanks.

    1. Jenn Golech

      Patrick, thanks for your comment. With the new routing the issue of luggage space shouldn’t be much different than it is now. The majority of the passengers that will board the bus coming to or from the airport for purposes of air travel will likely be boarding the bus at either end of the route, such as UT and downtown going out to the airport and obviously, at the airport coming inbound. As additional passengers board the bus as local/flyer passengers, they won’t have luggage, and would be the passengers who was have less seat availability if this were an issue. The proposed 30 minute frequency should mitigate this possibility though. Also, the route would continue to be a flyer service as it is now and not become an express bus.
      Thanks for riding Capital Metro!

      1. Patrick

        Jenn, thanks for your reply. I vaguely recall that Chris Riley objected to changing the Airport Flyer over to this route during the most recent Service Change because (1) the 7th Street construction/revitalization project was finally completed and (2) a huge Riverside construction project was about to kick-off (I think that is correct, but I’m not 100% sure on that latter point) which could seriously affect In-bound and Out-bound routes. I think Councilman Riley has a valid point here if there is to be a huge Riverside road improvement project. Most of my flights out of ABIA have been in the early morning so I was never delayed by that Riverside construction on my way to the airport. However, when I took the bus from the ABIA to downtown from Noon to 5pm, I often experienced significant delays due to the construction (some were as long as 1 hour). I’d surmise that the Out-bound route at this time was delayed getting to the airport by the same amount of time. If there is a large Riverside road improvement project that routinely delays this proposed route, could you enact a contigency to re-route this route back to 7th Street? An unanticipated 1 hour+ delay in getting to ABIA would tend to discourage people from taking the bus to the airport. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong about a major Riverside road improvement project. Like I said above, I vaguely recall hearing about that project … I could be wrong. Thanks!

        1. Jenn Golech

          Patrick,

          Thanks for your reply. As plans for Riverside Corridor construction move forward we will continue to monitor the situation and make pro-active adjustments to the best of our ability. We currently have approximately 30 buses per hour using Riverside, so any construction delays will have major impacts on our overall operations. We will try to work with the City to minimize these as much as possible, certainly to avoid delays like the ones you’re concerned about.

          Thanks!

  2. Will

    By not having Bus schedules on your buses, and removing itenaries like that on 15th and Lavaca, it seems like Capital Metro actually plans for these routes to FAIL. Did you do your ridership counts on the hottest days of the year? I bet you did. Want to save money? Cut Linda Stephenson Watson’s salary down to $60,000 a year. Not just Watson, Allen, Hemingson, Gonzalez, Timbes, Hodges, and others. Right now they are robbing the taxpayers blind, and this is allowed because?

    1. Will

      Lisa

      What is with dodging the questions here?
      It is not going to work for Obama and it won’t work here, either.

      Let me rephrase the questions for you…

      Question #1: The service changes are due to ridership, How are those ridership counts conducted?

      Question #2: Did you only count them during the record hot tempatures in order to receive the lowest ridership count?

      Question #3: Are you keeping tabs on bus schedules on board each Capital Metro route, to make sure the bus drivers are doing THEIR JOB STOCKING THEM?

      Question #4: Before the “Wealthy Smart Phone users only” bus stop itineraries when the previous bus stop itineraries were in place are we comparing and contrasting those numbers?

      Question #5: Why aren’t we looking into Salary caps on executive management of Capital Metro to not exceed $60,000?

      I would like all questions #1 through #5 answered in complete sentences.

      Thanks,

      aka Joe Taxpayer

    2. James Gamez

      Lisa,

      You can also email comments to feedback@capmetro.org.

      I heard a COA commissioner refer to Lamar/Rundberg as the International District and have been calling it that since. The area is unique in terms of cultural and age diversity.

  3. Will

    Mr. Gamez, I am sure you are capable of answering my questions, aren’t you?
    See the above questions #1 through #5 as you are in direct contact with Linda Stephenson Watson, Todd Kent Hemingson, Douglas Allen, John
    Hodges, Elaine Timbes, and others.

    We the people need answers since we are Taxed Enough Already!

    How is the Texas Rangers investigation of John David Cowman former Capital Metro board member? I can proudly say I play a role in that.

    Why are the taxpayers paying for Vincent Sandoval’s Tuition and Misc. Expenses? from November 2010?

    Will you be able to answer those questions or do you need them rephrased?

    1. Will,

      Regarding your questions 3-5:

      #3 – yes, but if you are on a route that lacks pocket schedules, please let us know the route, bus # and time so that we may look into the issue. Many times the buses leave the yard stocked in the morning, but the supply of brochures is exhausted shortly thereafter.

      #4 – Capital Metro will continue to offer our passengers multiple ways of accessing schedule information at the bus stop. The pilot project with QR codes has been extraordinarily successful, and we have plans to expand the number of stops with this option. Users will still be able to access schedule information by calling the Go-line at 474-1200 24 hrs/day, receive schedule information by text via Dadnab, obtain a pocket schedule or purchase a schedule book.

      #5 – There are no salary merit increases for staff included in Capital Metro’s proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Whether you choose to believe it or not, the people working at Capital Metro are skilled and dedicated professionals who labor long hours to provide this important service to our community – and salaries at all levels, from the CEO on down, are less than what is likely justifiable for that effort and expertise.

      1. Will

        #3 – yes, but if you are on a route that lacks pocket schedules, please let us know the route, bus # and time so that we may look into the issue. Many times the buses leave the yard stocked in the morning, but the supply of brochures is exhausted shortly thereafter.

        ALL THE VEOLIA ROUTES INCLUDING 383 RESEARCH NEVER EVER HAVE BUS SCHEDULES ON THEIR BUSES. After my investigation in November 2010 only had the bus schedules on for the first couple of days and then they went back to their old ways.

        #4 – Capital Metro will continue to offer our passengers multiple ways of accessing schedule information at the bus stop. The pilot project with QR codes has been extraordinarily successful, and we have plans to expand the number of stops with this option. Users will still be able to access schedule information by calling the Go-line at 474-1200 24 hrs/day, receive schedule information by text via Dadnab, obtain a pocket schedule or purchase a schedule book.

        ELIMINATE the voice activated crap and replace with touch tone, but Mr. Micheal-Cortez you don’t ride the bus so you would not know what it is like.
        You can afford a smart phone so maybe you need to buy all the bus riders smart phones so they can find out what time the bus comes, or make the schedule books free of charge again at least when you had them that way they were on every route including 383. It is eliteist when you have the schedule on every train station but not for your buses. I want to go 2 weeks with seeing bus schedules for that bus on every route I ride. I bet you will find some lame excuse on why it is not being done.

        #5 – There are no salary merit increases for staff included in Capital Metro’s proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Whether you choose to believe it or not, the people working at Capital Metro are skilled and dedicated professionals who labor long hours to provide this important service to our community – and salaries at all levels, from the CEO on down, are less than what is likely justifiable for that effort and expertise.

        AT THE TAXPAYERS DIME? They are PUBLIC SERVANTS. Not only we should have a salary cap on these people, but they should have term limits, and be elected by the voters. If they want to make more than 60k then THEY NEED TO FIND A JOB IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR!!!! A police officer doesn’t make the kind of money that Capital Metro execs are making and they put in a whole lot more longer and grueling hours than you will ever do. CORRECT?

        1. Will,

          On #3 – we will look into the lack of pocket schedules on that route.

          #4, actually, I ride the bus nearly every day, as do many of my fellow Capital Metro employees. Further, if you read my response again, you may notice that all but one of the options for customers accessing stop level information DO NOT require a smart phone.

          #5 – yes, I am a public servant, and if you want competent public servants, you must pay them a fair salary. I am sorry you feel otherwise.

          1. Will and JMVC —

            I’ll chime in.

            We recognized that Veolia routes were not being adequately stocked with route leaflets, so as of last month (August 2011) those buses are now stocked twice a week with schedules — Wednesday nights and Sunday nights. This mirrors what happens on our StarTran vehicles.

            Not every bus gets every leaflet — and we do experience occasional shortages — but things have improved since Will’s investigation in November 2010.

  4. N Crowther

    Planning folks: I have some questions about the route changes:
    Please do not lengthen the scheduled times for the 17 –the loads and relief from the elements are necessary and there are always so many people and they count on the 15 min window to get places on time…18 is a lot more math involved and is too close to 20 which is a long, long time if it is hot or cold or …rain? I have a few more concerns…gotta catch a bus…be back

  5. N Crowther

    #3 realignment–are all the bus stops accessible along the proposed route changes from MLK-11 NB + SB? ACC RG is cut off–many from South ACC go to RG ACC–don’t make a transfer necessary from one ACC to another. Many ACC courses are at different campuses during the week. Finally–is the NB stop at the Travis County Granger Building? And a suggestion for the #3 NB and SB but mostly NB–can you do every-other block–skip blocks ( the students CAN use the exercise to go an extra block if they can traverse the UT Campus). Finally, for the #3 two questions–on SB along Colorado–why not go straight to Chavez and turn right? The stop at 2nd/San Antonio is a waste of time and is unshaded whereas the Colorado is shaded–BUT–if there is a planned more off of Colorado for construction…where will the new SB stops run? Please say Congress. anymore west then the transfers maybe 5 blocks from Brazos to the Guadalupe SB access. I ride #3 ALOT…more…

    #311–reductions–grrrr—but if you have to reduce frequency please make it after 9pm and on Sundays to make the weekend service run 30 minutes until 9…Sunday isn’t alot of riders because no one wants to wait…in the sun for 45 minutes. Much of the low ridership on weekends on this route (my route) is due to L-O-N-G waits when you miss a transfer…can you work on the transfer issues too if you reduce frequency??

    One more suggestion–yes I did my homework and I thank you for the interactiveness of the maps and changes…please consider an overlay to show differences…I digress…my final, honest, is get rid of the RAIL buses and make local buses serve the rail centers–they pass up us commoners at regular stops and cause friction between the have and have nots. You can skip the center when the rail isn’t running. The separate shuttles seem elitist and reverse riders from bus to rail do not have equal service. Might even get some good cross marketing from people talking to each other.

    Thank you for the SERVICE CHANGE PLATFORM and concern for the customers. I hope good will to all (you too Will).

  6. jgamez

    Mr. McLeod,

    Thanks for your comments. I can respond to questions 1 and 2.

    Capital Metro collects ridership data using fareboxes and automatic passenger counters (APC’s). http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp_syn_77.pdf

    Service planners and schedulers rely heavily on APC’s, which provide reliable stop level data. Data is collected throughout each service period to ensure multiple samples on each trip. Ridership is analyzed based on service level (weekday, Saturday, Sunday) and assessed by type (local, crosstown, express, etc.) to allow comparison with peer services.

    James Gamez

    1. Will

      So Mr. Gamez you are admitting that you do these ridership counts during the heat wave. Whould you walk out in the 109 degree weather to go somewhere? The data should be adjusted and compared to the elements before making drastic service changes such as route cuts.

  7. Dave Shapiro

    Moving Route 3 from Rio Grande to Guadalupe and Lavaca will work a severe hardship on those with emphysema and other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (copd) who chose to live on or near Rio Grande in order to take the northbound bus to Seton and the medical offices near 38th and Medical Parkway. Walking two blocks or four blocks in the summer months in 90 degree or 100 degree weather for an elderly person with copd literally bakes what is left of our lungs. It is a killer. I chose to live at 1801 Rio Grande precisely because the northbound bus stops directly in front of this apartment complex, and the southbound Rt. 3 which takes me downtown and to the courthouse stops a short one block east, at 1802 Nueces. It is extremely painful for me and others with my condition to walk to 20th and Guadalupe, much less 17th and Lavaca, to catch the northbound bus. Also, I see students from West Campus riding both north and south to their jobs. Other students who commute to UT on the Rt. 3 can easily transfer to the Rt. 1 or Rt. 5. A third demographic that will be adversely impacted are the folks who live in the Judges Hill area and who walk east to Rio Grande to catch the northbound Rt. 3, and one block further east to Nueces, to catch the southbound Rt. 3 to get to downtown. My hunch is that a larger number may be employed during the day in homes in the Judge’s Hill area. BOTTOM LINE: Since you moved the Rt. 19 bus to Guadalupe and Lavaca, you’ve given that corridor more than enough access to public transit. Please reexamine your priorities before you
    remove Rt. 3. It is a lifeline for many of us, and it will be a severe hardship for the elderly with copd during six-months of the year when our daily temperatures are at least at the 90 degree mark.

    Dave Shapiro .

  8. Robin

    Keep the 240 Parkfield route aligned as it is. It serves the N. regional Austin Office for the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. The State agency is located on parkfield.

    Realingment of the route would remove service access for a very large chunk of clients–not just from the immediate street, but who catch a connecting route in from other points north.

    The location and several public transit routes is needed because people with disabilities include those who have to use transit for obtaining mobility around a community. The office is serving the entire northern portion of the city. A single bus route in would be ineffective.

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