MetroRail riders — and probably anyone within regular earshot of MetroRail riders — have noticed that the service has had difficulty as of late keeping to its schedule. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and for the disruption to your plans. But let us try to explain what’s happening, what’s causing the delays and what we’re trying to do to remedy the situation.
First, the delays themselves.
Since January, MetroRail trains have experienced delays of anywhere between 5 and 45 minutes. It hasn’t happened every day, but often enough. And, once it starts happening, it’s difficult to get back on schedule, and so brief delays in the morning rush hour can turn into lengthier delays by the evening. The best thing to do is to use the Next Departure feature on the CapMetro App and on our website to determine when your train’s gonna be there.
But what’s causing all this, you’re asking yourself.
Well, here’s the deal … it’s not just one issue, unfortunately. The delays stem from two separate projects that are under construction at the same time. We’re building additional passing points along the MetroRail route that will enable us — once our Downtown Station is completed — to double the frequency and capacity of the service. We are also implementing a federally mandated positive train control system, which will ensure the long-term safety and security of the service.
And, during construction, our trains can’t operate at their normal speeds. So they’re running a bit more slowly than usual to ensure the safety of everyone, workers and riders alike. But the slower trains make it a bit tougher to maintain on-time performance.
We also implemented a new schedule in January that takes advantage of our new trains and enables us to run paired trains during rush hour. That’s great, of course, because our trains can get packed during busy commute times. A problem arose from signaling issues caused by the paired trains. Essentially, the first train has to wait for the second train to board its passengers, and our signals and the arms that block street traffic at crossings (for reasons of safety, of course) have been mistimed and held up cars and the riders on the trains.
Delays, we’ve had a few. What are we doing about them?
Well, we’re working on a new schedule that will allow the trains to work better together. We’ve tested these schedules a few times already and are hoping to put it in place soon. Problem is, though, that SXSW is coming up and it’s the busiest two weeks of our year. And so, that will likely have to wait until after the festival.
We’re also making sure that we let everyone know what’s happening. Check our social media feeds, your CapMetro App news alerts and sign up for our rider alerts by email. You can also scroll down to the end of this post and it’ll explain a bit more about how to receive and how to understand our service alerts.
The important thing to remember is that these are good, important things that are happening. (Promise!) But they are also causing us to experience growing pains, and we are sorry for the inconvenience they are causing you. The goal of the construction projects and the schedule testing is to enable us to make MetroRail’s schedules operate more smoothly and with fewer disruptions. We’ll get there.
If you have any questions, please contact Customer Service directly by calling the GO Line at 512-474-1200.
Thanks for riding and for your patience.