Capital Metro, UT Considering Revision to Spring 2014 Shuttle Route Proposal

By Roberto Gonzalez, Capital Metro Planning

UT ShuttleCapital Metro would like to thank our riders who have taken the time to provide valuable feedback regarding the proposed transition of WL and CR Shuttle route riders to mainline Capital Metro service for Spring 2014 (capmetro.org/Spring2014).

The UT Shuttle system is jointly funded through a partnership between Capital Metro and The University of Texas. Funding for the University’s portion comes from the Student Fee Bill Committee (SSBC) and unfortunately, for the past several years, there has not been an increase to any of the organizations funded through the SSBC based on financial constraints across the University (despite annual rising costs).  Thus, the shuttle system cannot continue to operate at the same levels as before.

Working with the UT Shuttle Bus Committee (a group comprised of students, faculty, staff), Capital Metro staff has developed proposed changes to service in order to match available funding.  The committee must balance the needs of students with the need to provide cost-effective shuttle service that benefits the entire student community (all of whom pay equally into the system).

RouteCRShuttle

The proposal was developed after evaluating shuttle route performance where it was determined that both CR and WL shuttle routes are UT’s lowest-performing routes (measured by ridership and resources expended). In making this determination, Capital Metro used student population data gathered from the University as well as ridership data collected by automatic passenger counters (APC) equipped on shuttle vehicles. 

Anytime a major change to the system is proposed, Capital Metro collects public feedback and comments through various channels including:

  • public meetings
  • on-line forums
  • webinars
  • emails
  • at-stop outreach
  • social media

Feedback is being reviewed on a daily basis by Capital Metro staff and initial summaries have been shared with the University.  By far, the majority of comments received to date have been from users of the CR Cameron Road shuttle (primarily, residents from the Camino la Costa area).  These comments have focused largely on the distance and area in which a student would be required to walk in order to reach the nearest mainline service to campus along Route 7 Duval/Dove Springs.  (Route 37 Colony Park/Windsor Park also offers access to campus for a majority of riders along the CR shuttle).  Students have also stated the use of Route 7 would increase travel time to/from the University.  Finally, students have expressed concerns that this change would take place mid-school year (spring), which for many would be in the middle of apartment leases.

revised proposal CRBased on feedback we have received on the proposal to transition the CR Shuttle route to mainline service, Capital Metro and The University of Texas are considering a revision to the initial service change proposal. This revised proposal would preserve service into the Spring semester, allowing students to make appropriate housing arrangements while the University and Capital Metro address funding constraints.

The revised CR Shuttle proposal would be modified to serve the Camino la Costa area only. Route CR would operate at every 30 minutes between 7am-11pm Weekdays (Finals service would also be offered) and at every 60 minutes between 3pm-10pm Sundays. This route, however, would operate only until the end of the Spring 2014 semester.

The proposed revision is still under consideration. Feedback received on the following survey questions will help Capital Metro and the University make a final determination: surveymonkey.com/s/MZQBKVD We will follow-up in future emails if a proposal modification is finalized.

We will continue to keep the University apprised of your feedback and encourage you to continue commenting via any of the following available forums:

A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, September 16th at Capital Metro’s main administration building (5 p.m.) and the proposal will go before Capital Metro’s Board of Directors for consideration on September 23rd at noon.

The proposed changes to UT Shuttle routes are part of the tri-annual service change process that allows Capital Metro to adjust routes, schedules, bus stop locations and facilities in order to improve overall service and create a more efficient system. Visit capmetro.org/changes and view our short video for more information.

Thank you again for your time and please do not hesitate to contact me directly should you require additional information or request more specific answers to your questions already raised.

Sincerely,

Roberto Gonzalez, Capital Metro – Planning

512-369-6035

UPDATE: As of Sept. 23, the Capital Metro board of directors has approved the Spring 2014 Service Changes with the revision made to maintain the Cameron Road Shuttle through the spring semester. To review all approved changes to the transit system, visit www.capmetro.org/Spring2014.

One thought on “Capital Metro, UT Considering Revision to Spring 2014 Shuttle Route Proposal

  1. I would like to see the Capital Metro board of directors vote on Monday to keep both the CR and WL shuttles indefinitely, and propose a new plan of cutting costs in other shuttle routes and frequencies.

    I would also like for you to know, that I did take the time to attend the public hearing this Monday, 9/16. All of the voiced concerns from the speakers are also concerns of my own.

    While I appreciate Cap Metro and UT working to come up with a different plan to alleviate the concerns of those living in the Camino La Costa area, this does NOTHING to help the students living off Cameron Road (the shuttle’s namesake after all). If money is going to be spent to send a shuttle all the way out to Camino La Costa, what logical or financial sense does it make, to not have it continue on the current route down Cameron road? The students living in apartments off of Cameron Road also are locked into leases through August and moved into those locations solely based on the availability of the UT shuttle and affordability of housing in the area.

    Why does The University and Capital Metro not consider raising the fees charged to UT students by $1? That amount per student could drastically change the amount of funding available. I am an independent student, who is trying to make by on a meager Starbucks salary, while paying for student loans, tuition and cost of living. Sacrificing valuable work time to ride on the bu s is not an option, nor is paying to drive to campus and park. This shuttle serves over 1000 low-income, independent, international, and graduate students daily.

    Why is the route 37 Colony Park bus not an acceptable alternative you ask? My firsthand experience with riding this bus to campus today should be a clear picture. As I’m waiting for the CR shuttle,running late by 8 minutes, to arrive this morning the 37 bus beats it to the stop. So, seeing as the 37 is the suggested alternative ride to campus, I hop on. While waiting at the light to turn right on 51st, the CR catches up to turn left on fast-track to campus. I learned that the 37 takes a mid-day detour past the day-labor center, down airport blvd, and back tracks to the intersection where the CR passed us by. By this time 20 minutes later, the CR, had it arrived on time, should be getting to campus. Now, already late for arriving to campus, the 37 bus makes a stop where a man in wheelchair needs to board the bus, which is fine, but it takes up an extra seven minutes. We continue along the route, stopping at every stop at every block. To then be stopped by the RR crossing, to wait for a CapMetro Rail to go by. Then, we have to stop to let the wheelchair man off, which takes another extra minutes. By the time we get to the stop on UT’s campus it is already 30 minutes later than I intended to be there. To arrive five to ten minutes early to the bus stop, is bad enough, but then the bus is late and delayed during the route to accommodate all of the regular city riders. Asking working, full-time students with tight schedules to allow an extra hour of flexibility daily for bus riding is unrealistic.

    Now to discuss the facts on ridership of the CR and WL shuttles. These figures are not facts, but estimates based on student responses last year. Also, since there is no way for students to swipe their IDs for an accurate count of riders, how do we really know the actual usage of the shuttle? With no definite number to base a cancelation decision on, how is it even a fair argument? If some of the busses are equipped with the “visual person counter” this still is not being accurately utilized to count students. I ride a shuttle everyday in which the driver only opens the back doors for riders to enter and exit. So if there is a digital rider counter, the opportunity is not being given for an accurate count.

    “The committee must balance the needs of students with the need to provide cost-effective shuttle service that benefits the entire student community (all of whom pay equally into the system).”
    If this is what the committee is basing the decision on, the whole student body, are they looking at all the factors? The high numbers of ridership that exist in the Forty Acres (FA) and West Campus (WC) shuttles exist because they are close in proximity to campus, where there is a higher population of students. However, the usefulness of those routes is debatable in comparison to the CR and WL shuttles. Do perfectly able-bodied students, that only live a 10 or 15 min walk to campusneed a shuttle to cart them from one side of campus to the other? Possibly we can assume the fact that they can afford to live in close-to-campus housing, they probably don’t realize that some students rely on public transportation for their daily livelihood. Cost effective shuttle service: how about eliminating half of the FA and WC busses that waste resources that could be used to fund the continuation of the CR and WL shuttles.

    Again, I would like to see the Capital Metro board of directors vote on Monday to keep both the CR and WL shuttles indefinitely, and propose a new plan of cutting costs in other shuttle routes and frequencies.

    Thank you for taking the time to send a personal response to my concerns.

    Amanda Linn

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