You’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.