Testing the future of Capital Metro

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In the past, we’ve said that Capital Metro’s future is Rapid-ly approaching. With today’s system-wide test of the 801 line of MetroRapid, suddenly the future is upon us.

On Tuesday, December 10, Capital Metro implemented a full-scale test of the forthcoming MetroRapid service. This test allows us the opportunity to see how MetroRapid performs in real world scenarios while dealing with the needs of passengers who will utilize the service.

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Today’s testing was designed to get an up close and personal view of the MetroRapid service from the user’s perspective. A main objective of the field test was to evaluate the performance of the new technology being used onboard the vehicles. Also, “dwell times,” or the time it takes a vehicle to load and unload passengers at each station, were recorded. In addition, operators will simulate detour scenarios and traverse through the new transit priority lanes on Guadalupe and Lavaca downtown. Additionally, we were testing other aspects including announcements, farebox and rear door ticket validators, destination signs, dynamic message signs at stations, passenger counters, WiFi and more. We also recruited volunteers with bikes and wheelchairs to test those respective systems to ensure all is ready for MetroRapid’s launch on January 26th, 2014.

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Our volunteers will note their observations, document their experiences and return their feedback. We’ll then go over those comments and determine what succeeded and what kinks need to be ironed out. We believe strongly in MetroRapid. We know it will provide an invaluable service to the community and today’s testing will go a long way in ensuring that Capital Metro offers the absolute best experience possible when MetroRapid goes live next year.

Over the next month and a half, you will notice MetroRapid vehicles out and about in Austin as we continue to fine-tune the service. We know you’re excited to ride the Rapids, so please view the additionally testing not as a joyride, but as our unwavering commitment to the community. MetroRapid is coming and we want you to love it as much as we do.

For more information about MetroRapid service, its amenities, route maps and more, visit capmetro.org/metrorapid.

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