Capital Metro is one step closer to putting faster, sleeker MetroRapid buses on the streets of Austin after Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff and Capital Metro CEO Linda Watson finalized a $38 million grant agreement today.
This funding comes from the FTA Very Small Starts program, which will help contribute 80 percent of the total $47.6 million MetroRapid project — coming in 2014.
“With the signed funding agreement, Capital Metro is able to proceed full-steam ahead to build this incredible new rapid transit service that will directly benefit almost 25 percent of the entire service area,” said Watson. “MetroRapid will connect neighborhoods, workers and students to universities, state offices, high-tech companies and regional retail and medical centers.”
Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, and Capital Metro Chairman and Austin Council Member Mike Martinez joined Rogoff and Watson at today’s announcement where they also toured a portion of the future MetroRapid route.
“Austin has a lot to be proud of, and we are going to continue to build a world-class transit network that will connect our region,” said Martinez.
So what does that mean for our riders?
Two new rapid-bus lines
Come 2014, there will be two new, high-capacity, rapid bus lines along North Lamar/South Congress and Burnet/South Lamar. These two routes will serve the highest ridership markets in the region. 40 newly designed low-floor transit buses will serve 77 stations.
Reduced travel times
On top of that, MetroRapid will have fewer stops, reducing travel times. Dedicated bus lanes though the heart of downtown will also help get you to your destination quicker then ever.
MetroRapid buses will run 5 am – 1am weekdays, 6 am – midnight Saturdays and 7 am -11 pm Sundays, with service every 10-30 minutes. This operating plan has a positive net effect of providing approximately 5 minute service frequency during peak periods and 7.5 minute service during off-peak times in the core section of the system.
If that isn’t enough to leave you in anxious anticipation, come 2014 expect MetroRapid GPS-based Transit Signal Priority, enabling real-time bus arrival information.
The mission of the MetroRapid project is to help improve service quality, increase ridership, expand service and improve travel time and reliability. Learn more about this exciting new service capmetro.org/metrorapid.