You’ve Asked … Here Are Our Answers

RevisionsYou’ve probably heard about the big changes we’re planning to put in place next June.

In fact, we know that you know about them because we’ve heard from a lot of you. And the great thing about receiving all that feedback is that it gives us a chance to make our proposal better.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common suggestions we’ve heard and our responses:

It’d really be great if Route 5 still served the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center in the state complex near Lamar and 51st, can you make that happen?

Yes, we can, as a matter of fact. We had proposed to run Route 5 down Burnet and then Medical Parkway before turning to Lamar on 38th Street. Riders wanted to be able to access the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center, and since we have other routes on Medical Parkway, we’ve agreed to change our proposal.

Speaking of Route 5, can you please keep it on Speedway? We’re used to that and like it the way it is.

That one, we can’t recommend. Not only does UT Shuttle Route 656 run on Speedway already, but frequent service would be available within a 5-minute walk on Duval (Route 7) and a 6-minute walk on Guadalupe (MetroRapid 801). The goal of these changes is to create a simple, efficient system that avoids route duplication. We also want to operate buses on major corridors for the most part, rather than neighborhood streets.

Farther north, you guys really need to keep service to the business park east of the Norwood Walmart, where the main post office is. Why are you trying to eliminate that route?

We’ve heard this one a lot, to be honest. That portion of the current Route 323 doesn’t have a whole lot of ridership, and that’s why we proposed to remove service. But enough of you have spoken out in favor of keeping service there that we are proposing to create the new Route 339 Tuscany. It would operate every 60 minutes starting from the Walmart, traveling through the Tuscany Business Park, past the H-E-B at Loyola and Springdale, before ending near the intersection of Tannehill and Webberville in East Austin.

None of these revisions we’re proposing can cause the plan to go over budget, however. And that means we would have to balance the costs of this new service by removing the proposed extension of Route 323 to Far West. Instead, the new proposal would end that route at Northcross Shopping Center, and Far West would be served by Route 19.

We rely on Routes 392 and 383 in North Austin. Your proposals take away service we think is important. Is there anything to be done about that?

OK, we hear ya. This is another one that you’ve been loud and clear about. Our new proposal would restore service to the neighborhoods off Anderson Mill on Route 383 before ending at Lakeline Station. Route 392 is also being brought back into the plan. The main difference is that the proposal for Route 392 would stop at Braker and Burnet instead of extending to Great Hills. That part of the route would be served by the proposed Route 383.

Down south, the current Route 350 serves the Met Center, but your proposal changes that. Can you keep it the way it is?

Now that you mention it? Sure, why not?

OK, it isn’t as simple as that. We proposed that change as part of the effort to create direct routes that don’t zig and zag through smaller streets. The Met Center provides more than 50 riders each day, which is below the threshold to justify frequent service. But bringing 50 riders to work every day isn’t nothing, is it? And so we are proposing to reconfigure Route 271 to serve that location.

Another revision to our proposal for Route 271 came at the request of our operators, who understand the needs of our riders as well as anyone. The revised proposal would have the route serve ACC Riverside, which is a transfer point for a number of other routes. This would improve the connectivity of Route 271.

The 333 now goes down Pleasant Valley to Onion Creek Drive, and that lets people take transit to Perez Elementary School. It seems important to keep service to schools. Why are you planning to end that?

Unfortunately, we can’t recommend keeping that part of our service. Fewer than 15 riders a day use the bus to reach that stop, and so we cannot justify the expense of that service.

But, what about the Route 300? That’s a busy, popular bus route, and a lot of riders are used to it going on Rogge Lane. Are you still going to move it away from there?

Yes, that’s still the plan. Our design principles, which have guided the whole Connections 2025 process, call for us to place transit on busy, mixed-use corridors instead of residential streets. That’s why we’re planning to re-route the 300 to 51st Street from Rogge. It would create a more direct, easier-to-understand route, and a more efficient bus network. These kinds of changes might take a while to get used to, but we feel that they would make for a better rider experience for everyone.

***

OK, so these aren’t all of the revisions to our proposed changes, but we hope they give you an idea of what we’re thinking. We have goals in mind and we’re guided by principles that have been approved by our board. However, we’re still listening to what you have to say and taking all that feedback into consideration.

Thank you so much for paying such close attention throughout this process and offering advice and suggestions. We won’t be able to make every change you ask for, but we’ll always try to explain why we choose to do what we’re doing. Transparency and being open are important to us, and we want to do right by you.

18 thoughts on “You’ve Asked … Here Are Our Answers

  1. Novacek

    Is extending the 323 to Far West still on the table for the future, once Austin Oaks starts redeveloping? Connecting that new residential/jobs more directly to Northcross/Burnet/the 803 would be really nice.

    1. Capital Metro

      That isn’t being proposed right now. But we will re-evaluate the bus network as we go forward and will always be open to respond to changes to ridership demands and demographics. Our regular service change process will continue three times a year.

  2. mdahmus

    It is dishonest to assert that the 801 is a mere 6 minute walk away. The 5 stops every few blocks on the interior of the neighborhood; the 801 has one stop at 39th and another one at the Triangle. The walk to the 801 is thus likely to be quite a bit longer than 6 minutes, unless the person is starting from exactly 39th St and Speedway.

    1. Henry C

      If the route 5 bus no longer runs on Speedway between 31st and 45th, then I’ll basically have to lug my groceries 3 long blocks, so the “6-minute walk” is actually not very attractive. It’s a little disingenuous to mention the UT shuttle, which doesn’t run at all on Saturdays and school breaks, and very infrequently on Sundays.

      Also, it doesn’t seem to make too much sense to discontinue service to MoPac & Parmer (current 240 end of route), a big shopping area which has Fry’s, Half-Price Books etc.

  3. Clayton Colwell

    I realize that the 122 route is not busy at all, which is why it’s going away entirely. However, I believe that it’s being actively starved — the Four Points region continues to develop, and I could see a case for Concordia students being boosted to start using that route (if more times were added) for transportation to/from their homes, as well as other businesses along the 620 corridor.

    I have a vested interest, of course, my using the 122 to get to Lakeline Station for my commute downtown. That said, I am certain there would be ridership to support the 122 route if properly advertised/served.

    1. Nigel Richardson

      Same goes for the 970, which I’m sure more people would use if they knew it existed, if it ran more often, and if it stopped in few more places. Hardly anyone rides it because it only runs at 6.47am and 7.25am, and doesn’t stop until it gets to AMD/SolarWinds. Not everyone needs or wants to go to work that early, and there are many new businesses and apartments springing up along Southwest Parkway just as it’s being taken away.

      1. Clayton Colwell

        I’m especially frustrated with CapMetro’s suggestion to “just make a vanshare”.

        Here is what it says on the Enterprise page re setting one up:

        “Starting your own vanpool with Enterprise Rideshare is quick and easy. If you:
        Have a group of 5-6 co-workers who live near you
        Work similar schedules”

        The upshot being, of course, that, if you *don’t* have either of these available (as in my case), then you’re screwed. I also checked for current available vanshares — the closest to my house is 6 miles. No, this is not a viable option for me.

        1. Capital Metro

          Hi, Clayton —

          I’m sorry about the frustration with trying to find a service that works for you.

          Typically, members of a vanpool do meet at a central location (which may be a few miles from their home) to meet and ride into work. Some groups do decide that pickups along the route may work, as long as those additional stops don’t add an unreasonable amount of time and/or miles to the overall commute.

          While we have more than 240 vanpools on the road, there are areas where we do not. To match someone with an existing vanpool or form a new one – we do need a minimum of 5 riders, with similar commute patterns and work hours. However, we’re happy to work with potential riders to help advertise a new route, speak with their employer, etc.

          Thanks very much.

          /PJP

  4. Tarst Hammond

    Speedway losing service removes many (relatively) affordable apartment complexes from a one seat ride to downtown, and any efficient ride on weekends. Cutting service to stops with between 100-200 daily riders doesn’t seem to make sense when UT shuttles cannot provide a year round transportation solution and much of north university neighborhood is well over half a mile walk to the 801 station nearby.

    1. Tarst Hammond

      Just because a “route” is within a 6 minute walk does not imply the station is, it’s a bit disingenuous to market it otherwise. Especially when the board is dragging its feet on putting infill stations in on Metro”Rapid”

  5. Changing the 338 is a terrible decision. It’s the only local route that connects all of Lamar. The rationale is that the buses should be diverted from the busiest streets. How are we going to reduce congestion on the busiest street in Austin by taking away the one bus route that goes up and down that street? If anything, Cap Metro should be adding routes to Lamar, not taking them away. But all the changes miss the one most important thing where Cap Metro fails the city: its terrible technology. Make the app better and add trackers to every bus. Without doing that, the system will remain in the 20th century and will never keep up with how much the city is growing.

  6. Clayton Colwell

    This set of Big Changes brings up another frustration — the elimination of 122 is relegated to a one-line blurb in the Summary of the brochure, and a couple of greyed-out icons on the System Map. (The System Map barely acknowledges that the route continues west from Allendale, and there is *no* mention on the Map that it even goes to Lakeline Station.)
    I didn’t even know about its elimination in June 2018 until a bus driver mentioned it off-hand during a chat a couple of weeks ago.
    CapMetro has made it *abundantly* clear that it considers the route a “red-headed stepchild” — at least 6 times in the last 3 months the single northbound morning route was either so late that I missed my train connection at Lakeline Station, or it completely skipped my stop at Four Points. There is no consistent driver for the route; it feels like it’s handled by a random group of substitutes.

  7. Robin Orlowski

    need to keep the 240–which serves a multilingual HEB, a multilingual Austin public library, a hospital, a City community center/YMCA, ACC campus

    …AND a federally/State funded VR office. Cap Metro does not have legal authority to determine who gets access to VR services.. This office serves entire part of North Austin.

    If your budget is short, low…etc you need to cut elsewhere besides upon riders. Reduce salaries and bonuses.

    1. Robin Orlowski

      people who are themselves suddenly struggling to make ends meet will be much more likely to ride/start riding the bus. Less likely to propose cutting services throughout the City.

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