Major MetroRapid Announcement Today

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.

Real-time information

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.

32 thoughts on “Major MetroRapid Announcement Today

  1. mdahmus

    You guys should be ashamed of yourselves for repeating this misinformation. Your own documents show this service saving 0 minutes for the most congested and most travelled portion – the #101 from NLTC to downtown.

    http://mdahmus.monkeysystems.com/blog/archives/000681.html

    Stop misleading people and calling this “rapid” and stop implying major time savings. It’s bad enough to mislead people into thinking major frequency improvements are on tap when the change is trivial – but there’s clearly no defensible rationale for calling this thing rapid.

    1. Matt

      You keep repeating _your_ misinformation. That chart shows 0% from Tech Ridge to 11th, not NLTC to “downtown”. (it’s also almost a year old, so I’m not sure how accurate it still is).

      And since they’re now looking at using dedicated lanes in the “downtown” segment (source: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/metrorapid-bus-service-not-so-rapid-not-expected-2183494.html?page=2 ), I would expect actual downtown travel to be improved.

      That’s also the only segment that shows no time improvement (ignoring the other segments on this route and totally ignoring the other route).

      1. mdahmus

        Matt, I told you last time you did this that I wasn’t going to accept this nonsense from you anymore. Write your own post if you disagree with my claims – let’s see you put yourself out on a limb.

        I stand by my post – by Cap Metro’s own figures, they expect 0% time savings. And, yes, 11th is “downtown”. If anything, running from Tech Ridge should provide more of an advantage as the outlying areas is where the “hold the light for a couple of seconds” technology might actually help.

        This segment dwarfs all others in ridership – it’s also the segment that would have had light rail on (a lot of) it had we done the smart thing in 2000-2004. This is the segment which has, by far, the most congestion AND the most travel demand – both now and in the future.

        1. Matt

          This is me writing a post to disagree with your claims.

          >>by Cap Metro’s own figures, they expect 0% time savings.
          For one of the segments studied. 5 of the 6 segments studied (83%) show significant improvement. Which you totally ignore while calling out cap metro.

          >>And, yes, 11th is “downtown”.
          11th is downtown, but not all downtown is 11th. Your claim above inappropriately applies the general term, while ignoring that many downtown travelers (those that don’t disembark at 11th) may see improvements.

          >>If anything, running from Tech Ridge should provide more of an advantage
          Maybe, maybe not. But we don’t have any data on that either way. But that doesn’t prevent you from making a claim (backed up by no actual data).

          >>it’s also the segment that would have had light rail on (a lot of) it had we done the smart thing in 2000-2004
          That ship has sailed. Just because the voters rejected your pet project doesn’t mean that Metrorapid isn’t an improvement.

          1. mdahmus

            Nice try. Put a name that’s remotely identifiable on something and make your (extraordinary) claims, and then I’ll take a turn blowing them apart.

            For instance, everybody knows that of the 6 trips, there’s precisely one that has a ton of riders today: areas north of downtown to downtown on the 1/101 route. The #3 pales in comparison; as does areas south to downtown on the 1/101; and I would be surprised if there was even one rider a day going from the north transit center to the south center – yet you think I’m going to go do homework to prove the obvious.

          2. Matt

            >>For instance, everybody knows that of the 6 trips, there’s precisely one that has a ton of riders today: areas north of downtown to downtown on the 1/101 route. The #3 pales in comparison

            Everyone knows the 1/101 corridor has the most riders. No one is disputing that. However, the #3 corrider isn’t nearly as insignificant as you claim.
            Source: http://www.capmetro.org/docs/MetroRapid_Board_Cmte_Update_May_2011.pdf Page 3
            4,700 daily riders, and you’re going to tell them that _significant_ improvements to their daily commutes (up to %35) are “nothing”.
            And that’s not even considering the further redevelopment and increased density that is occuring in that corridor, with the North Burnet/Gateway (ftp://ftp.ci.austin.tx.us/npzd/website/planning/neighborhood/north_burnet.htm) and the Domain. As well as many new apartment complexes being built on South Lamar (http://www.statesman.com/news/local/with-apartments-on-the-way-will-traffic-really-2171856.html) and other locations along that line.

            >>as does areas south to downtown on the 1/101
            There are _thousands_ of daily boardings south of the river on the 1/101. Source: http://capmetro.org/serviceplan2020/downloads/Perteet_CapitalMetro_BoardingAlighting_Route1_NB.pdf and http://capmetro.org/serviceplan2020/downloads/Perteet_CapitalMetro_BoardingAlighting_Route1_NB.pdf

            Again, not the majority, but thousands of riders that will see tangible improvements (even those that are already riding the 101).

            >>yet you think I’m going to go do homework to prove the obvious.
            I expect you to back up your claims with facts and references, as I do.

          3. mdahmus

            Two weeks later? Really?

            I expect you to actually go out on a limb and tell us who you really are, and post somewhere where people can rip you to pieces the way you do me. That’s what I expect.

            I stand by my characterization. The only trip on those 6 that has a “ton of riders” is NLTC to downtown. (And, by the way, the reason they, and I, use 11th street is because that’s where it diverges from the current 101 route – where the apples-to-apples comparison would have to end).

            That NLTC to downtown corridor is where the most current demand is, by far; it’s where the most future demand is, by far; and it’s where the most current and future congestion is, by far. It shows how little Rapid [sic] Bus is really doing for us – fundamentally, it shows that Capital Metro was clever enough to convince the Feds to buy us shiny new buses under the guise of BRT that isn’t actually rapid – not on the corridors where it makes any difference.

            As for the 3 corridor, you could achieve the same gains (give or take) by running a limited version of the 3 – existing buses, no new technology required. As shown on Guadalupe, the “hold the light green” technology is really not all that relevant.

          4. Matt

            >>I expect you to actually go out on a limb and tell us who you really are, and post somewhere where people can rip you to pieces the way you do me. That’s what I expect.
            Which should be completely immaterial to the facts that I present. Why don’t you concern yourself with those?

            >>The only trip on those 6 that has a “ton of riders” is NLTC to downtown.

            5000 people isn’t a “ton”?

            And how many riders do you think are on that NLTC to downtown segment anyway(since that’s the only one that seems to matter to you)? From
            http://capmetro.org/serviceplan2020/downloads/Perteet_CapitalMetro_BoardingAlighting_Route101_SB.pdf
            and
            http://capmetro.org/serviceplan2020/downloads/Perteet_CapitalMetro_BoardingAlighting_Route1_SB.pdf
            and
            http://capmetro.org/serviceplan2020/downloads/Perteet_CapitalMetro_BoardingAlighting_Route101_NB.pdf
            and
            http://capmetro.org/serviceplan2020/downloads/Perteet_CapitalMetro_BoardingAlighting_Route1_NB.pdf

            it appears that, at most, there are a couple thousand daily riders boarding/alighting at NLTC. A further subset of those then are the ones that board/alight at 11th street. That minority are the only ones we “know” won’t see improved speed. Will those that get on/off on intermediate stops between those two points see an improvement? I don’t know. And neither do you, we just don’t have the data yet.

            >>it’s where the most future demand is, by far;
            And where’s your evidence for this assertion? The area of the #3 line is where the most green-field/brown-field development is occurring/is planned. North Burnet/Gateway is _the_ major regional center outside of Downtown in the Imagine Austin plan (source: http://www.imagineaustin.net/growth-concept-map)

            >>As for the 3 corridor, you could achieve the same gains (give or take) by running a limited version of the 3 – existing buses, no new technology required
            Again, where’s the backup for this claim? Not really something I can disprove, as we don’t have any numbers for this hypothetical “103”. Though I’ll point to the fact that the Metrorapid does show increased speed over the 101 (in 2 of the 3 samples) as suggestive that Metrorapid would similarly outperform a #3 corridor limited. Add in increased frequency, expedited boarding, dedicated lanes downtown, etc. , and the preponderance of evidence is certainly that Metrorapid is better than just adding on a #3 limited.

            >>As shown on Guadalupe, the “hold the light green” technology is really not all that relevant.
            I’m not aware of any published numbers for the transit time exclusively on Guadalupe. I’d appreciate any you can point me towards.

          5. mdahmus

            “Which should be completely immaterial to the facts that I present. Why don’t you concern yourself with those?”

            Because you’re doing so in an aggressively hostile fashion which makes me think you’re either a Capital Metro employee or one of their consultants, that’s why.

  2. Josh K.

    Will this free buses and improve service in the Spyglass on Mopac area(an hour an twenty min.)? Why am I even bothering to ask this. I’ll have my motorcycle by then.

    Never mind.

  3. mdahmus

    Also, the claim that this improves frequency to 5 minutes in the core is also ridiculous. You could just as easily count the #1L, #1M, #3, #5, and #101 all together today and make a similar claim.

  4. Matt

    There seems to be a bit of a typo in the map above. Ohlen and Burnet Road is south of 183, not north of it.

    Also, does the jog in the route north of there mean that it will actually travel through Pickle and the Domain?

    1. Matt

      Or does the the map above imply that there is an undrawn right-hand turn onto (single-lane) Ohlen from Burnet, with the stop located on Ohlen after crossing under 183?

      Anyone? Seriously, does anyone from CapMetro even read this blog anymore? These aren’t hard questions. Transparency?

    2. Erica

      The bend in the route depicts MetroRapid deviating off Burnet to serve both Pickle Research Campus and Domain directly.

      1. Matt

        And the Ohlen stop is at the intersection of Ohlen and Burnet (south of 183, not north)?

        The reason I’m concerned is that this error is propagating, and is reproduced in city of Austin materials describing the proposed light rail, etc.

        1. Erica

          Yes, you are correct that the map as shown here has an error–should be south of 183. I need to check if the new, corrected map is now available and update this blog post. I haven’t seen where the error was reproduced in CoA materials but I will check that out. thanks

  5. RCM

    Hey folks!
    Remember when Cap Metro provided a service that tons of taxpaying Austinites used: the downtown Dillo?

    Why does Cap Metro keep killing central city routes, raising local service route rates, and increasing the subsidies for remote suburbs?

    You would think that the State Legislature would reward Cap Metro for kowtowing to these Republican anti-Austin demands, right? You would be wrong.

  6. erik

    The real news here is that you guys have failed your community yet again, this was pushed back and pushed back and now it’s 2014 not 2013? Linda, you better not be getting a bonus this year.

  7. Pingback: For Austin, Wheels in Motion Rapid Transit by 2014 « Notes from the Road

    1. Misty

      It’s costly to provide such increased service levels along that corridor so we will be proposing to replace route 3 with the new rapid line. Of course, this will go through the public process for service changes before a final decision is reached.

          1. Matt

            I understand the reasons for this proposal, but I do think it would be unfortunate if this change was in fact approved by the service change process.

            I usually think “Will” is trolling the cap metro blog, but at least in this case (the linked discussion) he has somewhat of a point. Completely eliminating the #3 in favor of Metrorapid will make some destinations less reachable (due to the greater distance between stops on the metrorapid).

            Eliminating the #3 would also lose the opportunity to gain synergy between it and the new metrorapid (riders in the large intermediate segments between rapid stops could take a local to their nearest rapid stop). Given that the #3 corridor is one of, if not the, major areas of new development in town (lots of new apartments going in north near the Domain and south on Lamar), making such a change may be premature.

    2. Matt

      Also, in that same story, he mentions “in 2004 they approved creating 10 such routes, which since have been downscaled to two routes.”

      Is this downscaling considered permanent, or is Cap Metro planning/hoping to add back additional metro rapid routes if the initial rollout is successful?

      1. Misty

        We would like to offer more MetroRapid service; however, we want to implement these initial two routes and evaluate them before we consider adding more.

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