Ronald Reagan was president and the sounds of Phil Collins’ Sussudio, Whitney Houston’s You Give Good Love, Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me, and Madonna’s Crazy for You blasted from boom boxes across the country. Southpark Meadows was gearing up to host Willie Nelson’s eleventh Fourth of July Picnic in what was to be an unusually hot and dry July in Austin. And moviegoers looking to escape the heat were enjoying The Goonies, Fletch and St. Elmo’s Fire. Hair was big (and bigger) and shoulder pads were a must in every fashionable wardrobe.
So it was on July 1st, 1985 as Capital Metro was born. Voters in Austin and the surrounding communities approved its creation in accordance with Chapter 451 of the Texas Transportation Code. The new agency took over an existing bus service previously operated by the City of Austin.
Capital Metro has provided more than 838 million rides over the past 30 years. Not bad for an agency that began with just 100 buses in the entire fleet!
Over the past 30 years, the agency’s service offerings have expanded, providing riders with more mobility options to match the region’s fast-pace growth. Communities currently participating in Capital Metro’s 535 sq. mile service area include Austin, Jonestown, Lago Vista, Leander, Manor, Point Venture, San Leanna, Volente, and portions of Travis County and Williamson County, including the Anderson Mill area.
Capital Metro meets the needs of more customers with diverse services like MetroAccess and MetroRideShare. The agency currently operates 390 local MetroBuses along 80 different routes with nearly 3,000 bus stops throughout our current service area. It wasn’t long ago that some thought finding a seat on MetroRail was easy but now it is not unusual to board the train during peak times to find standing-room-only. Since the service launched just five years ago, ridership has quadrupled! And Austin’s first BRT service, MetroRapid, has already provided more than 3 million rides along two of the city’s busiest corridors since its launch just last year.
Capital Metro is using innovative new technologies (instead of your dad’s TRS-80) to make transit easier for riders to predict and use. Last year we introduced one of the first mobile transit app
s in the country, so riders can buy passes and plan trips on-the-go with smart devices. Also in the last year, we made real–time bus tracking information available to MetroRapid and MetroBus riders, online and through the CapMetro App.
Capital Metro isn’t stopping there. We are looking back… to the future, planning smart investments for a connected high-capacity transportation system for our region. Thanks for joining us for the ride. We’re looking forward to serving Central Texas well into the next 30 years!