Make Green Art

At Capital Metro, sometimes going green every mile, every day, takes a little creativity.

Take Nailah I. Akinyémi-Sankofa, artist and Executive Director of RunWay Underground, who turns our system maps into gift bags for attendees of RWU’s International African Fashion Week in Austin (pictured above), or Chandra Kring Villanueva who transformed used passes with origami at our Millionth Rider event at Crestview Station (below).

What creative ways can you give some of our old print materials a second life?

Schools, arts organizations, and artists are all encouraged to contact us  for a list of current print materials that are available for creative use. Examples of items that are often available are outdated system maps, service change brochures, and foam core signs.

For more information, please contact metroart@capmetro.org or call Simone Monique Barnes 512-609-1555.

Austin Poets to be Featured on Entire Capital Metro Bus Fleet next month

On Saturday, Sept. 29, (10 a.m. – 12 noon) the Austin Poetry Society will announce the Poetry with Wheels contest winning poems at Nature’s Treasures, 4103 North IH-35. The winning poems, like this one below will be posted onboard Capital Metro’s entire fleet of buses in October.

– 70 poets entered
– 314 poems submitted
– 20 poems selected (both English and Spanish) for display on buses 

The first five completed poetry signs for installation on Capital Metro buses will be unveiled. The event is hosted in conjunction with the Austin International Poetry Festival, a four-day event taking place Sept. 27-30, at venues throughout Austin that attracts hundreds of poets from all over the world. The event is free and open to the public.

Capital Metro partnered with the Austin Poetry Society (APS) to bring poetry onboard its buses. 

“The partnership with Austin Poetry Society will provide a lasting benefit for our riders, who can be delighted every time they board one of our buses with thoughtful, artistic poetry,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson. “Capital Metro supports the arts and has been exploring avenues of incorporating more art on our fleet and at our facilities.” 

Riders should begin to enjoy the poems onboard buses beginning in October, when the first batch of 420 signs will be installed across the bus fleet. The signs will feature 10 winning poems submitted in the contest and an additional two poems penned by Austin elementary students in a separate APS partnership with Badgerdog Literary Publications. The Austin Poetry Society anticipates producing a second batch of signs featuring another 12 poems next spring.

Facebook Contest: Two Austin Film Fest Badges up for Grabs

You may have heard about our MetroRapid groundbreaking yesterday…maybe you’ve also been one of the early birds to watch our new YouTube video…below:

But, do you know that Capital Metro has two Austin Film Festival badges to give away? It’s true! How can you snag one? Click here Our contest is ongoing until Sept. 30!

We want to see your transit-inspired artwork. It doesn’t have to be fancy or require an extreme amount of work. Think about what transit means to you…Where do you ride to? How many places have you been to on the bus? Where are you looking forward to riding MetroRail? Take a picture, Instagram it, draw something, sketch, doodle, crayon, stamp, collage, etc. Anyway you want.

Once you have your idea and have a creation, take a picture of it and upload to our Facebook contest page. Take this for example:

Here’s an example I of a picture I took on 9/11 of a bus, then added filters. Preface: I have no artistic talent to claim!

It’s that simple. Capture a transit moment and submit it. After we have some entries on our Facebook page, others will be able to vote on each photo. The earlier you submit, the more time you have to wrangle-in those votes!
Start now!

We’ll award the top two entries. Each of our winners gets one Austin Film Fest badge! Each badge is worth over $100 bucks.

Now, go onto our Facebook page and look for the green tab at the top and enter your art baby.

MetroRapid Construction Begins, “Screen ATX” Debuts

Today, the official groundbreaking for MetroRapid, Capital Metro debuted a unique and artistic short video to get people talking about MetroRapid. Take a look.


We debuted the video at the MetroRapid groundbreaking this morning at Chinatown Center. Chinatown is one of so many awesome destinations that will be served by the first MetroRapid route, Rapid 801 North Lamar/South Congress.

Check out more photos from the event today on our Facebook page.

Over the next 15 months, 40 MetroRapid stations will be built between Tech Ridge Park & Ride and Southpark Meadows. Construction for the second planned MetroRapid route, Rapid 803, Burnet/South Lamar, will begin later in 2013 (another 32 stations).

MetroRapid combines the reliability and amenities of a train with the flexibility and cost efficiency of a bus. Everything about MetroRapid is designed to move people quickly and connect them to the best parts of Austin along the two planned routes.

Some of the features of MetroRapid that will make for a reliable, on-time, and comfortable ride:

  • real-time arrival information at stations
  • signal priority technology that allows vehicles to “talk” to traffic lights to keep the service on time
  • limited stops and multiple-door boarding means faster trips
  • MetroRapid vehicles will be able to bypass traffic through downtown thanks to transit priority lanes
  • lots of headroom, comfortable seats, etc.
  • beautiful stations, with benches and unique shelters

MetroRapid is going to connect the best of the ATX.

What did you think of the video?

Capital Metro’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2013 Budget

Bus

Our fiscal year budget planning process is underway (our fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30). Our financial team and board members continue to be busy fine tuning our financial plans based on community feedback.

We’re holding steady in a tough economy

The total proposed FY2013 budget is $274.4 million, which includes both capital and operating budgets.

We have made great progress the past few years in strengthening our financial position and improving our business practices. We have changed our labor structure, discontinued free fares, made bus service more efficient, and adopted rigorous financial policies, all in an effort to improve the way we are doing business. And we’re transparent about how we do business—our financials are posted online, and updated regularly.

Now, with a tough economy that is slowly rebounding (more than 60% of our budget comes from sales tax), coupled with some major investments we’re making in our system, we’ve known for a while that FY2013 will be the toughest fiscal year in Capital Metro’s recent history. But the good news is that through sound management and board policy direction, the proposed FY2013 operating and capital budget was balanced without reducing service levels or increasing fares, and without reducing the fund balance as much as previously anticipated.

We want you know that Capital Metro is successfully responding to the challenges it has faced in recent years and is proactively helping Central Texas solve its transportation problems.

What we’re investing in progress

Our proposed FY2013 budget funds key strategic priorities, including labor structure, building our reserves, repair needs, safety initiatives to meet Federal mandates and Sunset Commission recommendations, and upgrades to our line that can no longer be deferred. For example,

  • We’re buying more than 50 new buses to replace our aging fleet–this means more new buses along our neighborhood routes
  • We’re investing in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), radio replacement, and Positive Train Control. (PTS, a federal unfunded mandate, is a system of functional requirements for monitoring and controlling train movements to provide increased safety.)

We’re investing in transportation solutions for all

During the budget development planning process, we’ve sought input from the community to ensure that our priorities are in line with the community’s transportation related concerns. Some of the most pressing ones we heard from social service agencies, our Access Advisory Committee, ADAPT, other members of Austin’s disabled community, and the general public at-large are related to fares, service, and accessibility. We want you to know that in FY2013, our budget includes:

  • No fare increase
  • No reductions in our overall service
  • Breaking ground on MetroRapid, a fast, new, high capacity service which will serve our busiest corridors (starting in 2014)
  • $2.4 million bus stop accessibility improvements
  • $250K contributed to the Basic Transportation Needs Fund, which supports non-profit organizations in assisting low-income transit dependent individuals’ access to transportation

Your Feedback Matters

Adopting a sustainable budget while investing in quality and innovation will help Capital Metro deliver on its promise to its customers and taxpayers to provide effective services that meet the Austin area’s transportation needs.

We encourage you to keep talking to us. We’re listening. Join us on

More information, including a copy of the proposed budget book and a webinar presentation with Frank Ordaz, our Director of Financial Planning, can be found at http://www.capmetro.org/budget2013/

Test out the new 3-bike racks on select Capital Metro buses

Capital Metro is testing the feasibility and safety of bus bike racks that hold 3 bikes each. Starting today, ten brand new 35’ buses will be traveling on Routes 338 (Westgate) and 325 (Rundberg) equipped with 3-bike racks.  They are the first of 3 route-pairs that will test the 3-bike racks over the next 6 weeks, from September 10 through October 21.  Capital Metro currently uses 2-bike racks on all its 35’ and 40’ buses and is evaluating the use of the 3-bike racks for future new buses, and perhaps retrofitting part of the system.

Capital Metro Board Member and Austin City Councilman Chris Riley advocated for the pilot to explore options for accommodating more cyclists on board transit. We’ll keep you posted how the test goes.

The 3-bike racks will be used on 2 routes for 2 weeks each to get an idea of their impact for bike transport on the buses. These routes are considered to have the most potential benefit from these racks, and focusing on only 2 routes at a time will allow most if not all buses on that route to be consistently equipped with the 3 bike racks.   After the 6 weeks period, the 3-bike racks will stay in the system on less specified routes.

We will be surveying the drivers and asking for comments from cyclist/users as well to gain input through this period.   Check out the new racks and give us a holler at feedback@capmetro.org.

The three bike racks will be deployed on the following routes during these dates:

September 10 through September 23

Route 338 – Lamar/45th

Route 325 — Ohlen

September 24 through October 7

Route 10 – South 1st/Red River

Route 3 – Burnet/Manchaca

October 8 through October 21

Route 30 – Barton Springs

Route 21/22 — Chicon/Exposition

TODAY: Nominate Arthur as Austin Chronicle’s Best Operator

Today’s the last day to vote, click here to nominate

Every year, the Austin Chronicle hosts their “Best of Austin” competition.

Austinites have the chance to vote for their favorites around town, from restaurants to media outlets. Aside from those traditional categories, the Chronicle gives everyone an opportunity to think outside the box and nominate a Wild Card topic for someone you would give an award to.

We think our very own bus operator, Arthur Murillo deserves an award for his outstanding work. Today is the deadline to vote, so log-on to: www.austinchronicle.com/bestof and scroll to the bottom of the page and fill in Arthur’s name in the Wild Card category.

Why should you nominate him?

  • Arthur is a four-time International Bus Roadeo Champion.

    Four-time international champion Arthur Murillo has driven buses for Capital Metro customers for 25 years.
  • He won his fourth title earlier this year.
  • He was voted Best Bus Operator in the Austin Chronicle in 2006.
  • He’s got more than 25 years behind the saddle driving folks around Austin as a professional bus operator.

Let’s get some votes going and help give Arthur an award he truly deserves.

Read more about Arthur’s previous  competition wins here.