Weekend Rail Service, *every* weekend, beginning March 23

Good news! This evening, the Austin City Council approved an Interlocal Agreement (ILA) with us to fund additional MetroRail service on Fridays and Saturdays, not just for special events like Pecan Street Festival, but *every* Friday and Saturday, beginning March 23. Trains will run hourly on Friday evenings from 7 p.m. until midnight, and on Saturdays, every 35 minutes from 4 p.m. until midnight.

“One of the most common requests we hear from the community at Capital Metro is to run MetroRail on evenings and weekends,” said Capital Metro President and CEO Linda S. Watson. “This agreement with the city allows us to deliver what the community has asked. MetroRail is a tremendous community asset, and by providing evening weekend service, a greater number of people will be able to use the system.”

Capital Metro had already budgeted to provide special event rail service during SXSW. You can ride MetroRail late on Friday, March 9 and 16, until midnight, and on Saturday, March 10 and 17, from 10:30 a.m. until midnight. Then the following weekend, Friday, March 23, *regular* weekend service supported by the city of Austin through the ILA will begin. Exciting!

Austin City Councilmember and Capital Metro Board Chair Mike Martinez said, “This ILA is a great win for the city and Capital Metro, but more importantly, Austin, Texas. As Capital Metro has added service we’ve seen increased ridership due to more transit options, and this agreement continues that momentum. People who work and visit downtown and along the Red Line route will be able to take commuter rail and enjoy even more of what Austin has to offer during the weekends.”

Under the multi-year agreement, the city of Austin will contribute a not to exceed amount of approximately $5.7 million over 34 months to assist with service within the city of Austin. Capital Metro will be responsible for costs associated with rail service outside the city limits. The city’s financial commitment to weekend rail service comes as a result of an existing ILA with Capital Metro in which the transit agency directs a quarter cent of its one-cent sales tax collection to the city for transportation projects in our community. The city has determined that funding a portion of this new rail service meets the criteria.

MetroRail ridership has nearly tripled since service began and is currently averaging 35,000 trips per month with standing-room only during morning and afternoon rush hours. The service also boasts a 99 percent on-time performance record. 

I am imagining all sorts of fun excursions I might like to do once the extended hours begin. What are your plans?

 

12 thoughts on “Weekend Rail Service, *every* weekend, beginning March 23

  1. I am so happy to see this change to add weekend evening service to our wonderful MetroRail. Y’all know I’ve been an outspoken advocate on Twitter to make permanent the weekend service we enjoy so much during special events. So, thank you thank you! I’ll be promoting this like crazy, you can count on it.

    (Next stop, day service for family outings.) ;o)

    Sincerely,
    @hopedoty

  2. Romain

    Wonderful! I am really happy about this!

    Now, to make it better, we need a full city wide system on monorails (to avoid traffic), and trains that run til 3am on the weekend… And a billion dollar bond to pay for it all and 15 years to build it all…Bring it on.

    1. Will

      I for one would not pay any more for rising rents, and property tax increases, because bonds at city hall is like the Washington, D.C. credit card. Do you want to pay for it Romain, on your own, with your own money? Go for it. Just leave the rest of the taxpayers out of it.

      Bond money: Someone has to pay for it. It is not free.

      1. Romain

        Will, I respect your opinion. Transportation is a necessary evil of our society. As the Austin population grows, we will have to build more roads and widen roads to not be stuck in traffic all day. While rail is not cheap, roads are way more costly. (granted, the start up cost for rail is a lot. In the long run, I am guessing it is cheaper IF citizens use it.) Gas will only get more expensive in the future with decreasing supply and war mongering nations.

        How do you think those roads will be paid for? If you want to leave the government out of it, do you and your friends have the cash to build your own roads to get to work?

        Will you send your present or future kids to private school? So that taxpayers don’t have to pay for your offspring to get an education?

        For those of you who think we should always have small government, listen to this well done story from This American Life. (note: I don’t like big gov’t either)
        http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/459/what-kind-of-country
        Sincerely, Romain

  3. Carey

    This is useless unless it runs until 2:30am on the weekends. Who goes downtown and plans on leaving to go to the rail around 11:30? If they allowed the trains to run until 2:30…..how many drunks would that get off the road….a lot of them.

    1. Will

      Yeah right, The service DOES NOT run to San Marcos, nor Round Rock. Do you think, Carey that a “drunk” will walk way over to where the downtown Hilton is, be able to read the TVM leave their car downtown and take it to Lakeline, Newsflash the train won’t take them home. As soon as they leave Lakeline Transit Station what do you think they will do, walk for miles to their home? I don’t think so. They will get into there cars. For the other stations like MLK station ever heard of public intoxication, that is against the law and any APD officer can and will cite someone for it, and along with Disorderly Conduct. When you go out, know your limit. Plain and simple. Carey you should not advocate drunkiness. If someone wants to get plastered do it at your own home the legal and somewhat safe way absent alcohol posioning.
      I think you need to talk to former alcoholics about this issue and ask them how they feel about it.

      Our nation is getting dumber because of the actions and inactions people take.

      I am not saying to people don’t drink, What I am saying is drink responsibly.

      1. Scott Wood

        Public intoxication requires one to be intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another. This is a higher standard than for DWI, which merely requires intoxication. Disorderly conduct requires certain specific behaviors, not intoxication.

        People are going to go to bars and become legally intoxicated regardless of your moralizing. Even those who do not become legally intoxicated would still be better off not driving, or delaying the drive, or not having to share the roads in/near downtown with many people who are intoxicated.

        That said, while I’m not sure what San Marcos or Round Rock have to do with it, extending the late night bus network would be a more effective way to get late night bar patrons (and employees) home. Advertising the existing late night service more (e.g. in bar bathrooms) could also help.

    1. Will

      I feel it is a luxury that the taxpayers should not have to subsidize for. Sure I would love to drive a Rolls Royce, Royces for everybody. But at the end of the day, who is going to foot the bill?

  4. Matt

    I welcome the increased hours/days of operation, but are there any plans/news on increased service levels in general? If the trains are standing-room-only at peak times during commuting hours, it sounds like the red line is starting to reach peak capacity. I recall capmetro mentioning that to really increase frequency levels it might be necessary to double the track in some sections. Are there any further details/timeframes on this? Any plans for additional stations (Crestview and Highland stations are in close proximity, but there are large stretches between Crestview and Kramer, and Highland and MLK)?

  5. RCM

    Terrible, terrible, terrible.
    Can we all hear the enormous sucking sound as the money of Austinites is stolen to subsidize a tiny number of folks living in remote suburbs?

    What makes CapMetro think that their continued caving into the anti-public-transit Republican suburbs will result in any respect or appreciation from them?
    All you are doing is wasting the money of the people who pay almost all of CapMetro’s taxes: the people of Austin.

  6. brobot

    as a reluctant cedar park suburbanite (& yellowdog btw RCM), i was really looking forward to metrorail & like most everyone up here in CP, really disappointed by it when it rolled out. if asked (we weren’t), i would’ve voted for a CP station (even though lakeline station is closest for me) & would’ve gladly handed over tax dollars to support a working & efficient metrorail. yes, weekend hours are a step forward but they don’t run late enough and worse, don’t start until 4pm on saturday and none at all on sunday! there are a bazillion other things to downtown during the day than go to 6th and drink! for example, my wife & i made plans to take the train to the art festival this weekend (since the art alliance is offering free admission to metropass holders), but no dice. i’m incredibly disappointed by metrorail. i would happily use it if it were accessible, but it just isn’t.

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