Cap Remap is coming in just a few more days. After two years of planning, months of preparation and a couple of weeks at bus stops throughout our bus network — we’ve talked to more than 7,600 of you, face to face — it’s nearly here.
In that time, we’ve heard some questions from y’all about how we came up with the plan and why. We’ve answered them as best we could, but we also wanted to gather a few persistent questions in one place to provide you answers.
Before we get to them, however, we wanted to make sure you’re aware that we are developing pilot programs that might serve some of the areas discussed below that aren’t best served by regular bus service using large, 40-foot buses. It’s not certain what form that will take, but please stay tuned for more info as the pilots are announced.
Why won’t the Route 10 go into Hancock Center anymore?
In order to provide reliable and frequent service on Route 10, we changed the approach to serving Hancock Center so that the bus will stay on Red River instead of driving into the shopping center itself. In the past, this wasn’t possible because there wasn’t a way for our customers to safely cross Red River, but now there’s a pedestrian beacon that customers can use to stop traffic and safely cross the street. It will be a longer walk to Red River than to the current bus stop inside the shopping center. However, the walk from the store to the street is similar in distance to how we serve every other H-E-B location in Austin. In addition, the time it takes to enter the parking lot and travel back to the street would prevent the new Route 10 from providing the frequent and direct service the majority of our customers have requested.
Does Cap Remap serve low-income and minority communities better than the current network?
Yes. An independent third party conducted an equity analysis of the Cap Remap service changes, and the Federal Transit Authority subsequently reviewed that analysis. The FTA found that, across the entire system, Cap Remap “substantially improved service for minority and low-income individuals.” The total minority population within 5 minutes of a bus stop with High-Frequency service will increase from 60,000 currently to 110,000, and while less than 1 percent of our existing customers will be farther than a 10-minute walk to transit service, 80 percent will have access to High-Frequency service (compared to 50 percent currently).
Capital Metro takes seriously the need to consult the community and consider feedback when making changes to our services. Throughout this process, Capital Metro listened to our customers’ requests that some service be maintained, and in many areas (though not all), some level of service was restored.
Why are you eliminating the Routes 21/22?
Among Austin’s oldest routes, the 21/22 is essentially one route. The 21 Exposition operates in a clockwise direction, and the 22 Chicon runs counterclockwise along the same route. That route stretches from Exposition in the west to Robert Martinez and Chicon in the east. It runs as far south as Holly and as far north as 38th & ½.
Most of those areas support transit service, and Cap Remap provides that. It’s just that the exact routing of the 21/22 doesn’t make much sense anymore. The east/west service can be provided by Routes 17, 18 and 335, all of which will operate every 15 minutes, 7 days a week, as opposed to the 21/22’s 30-45 minute frequencies. The north/south service is replaced on the east side of the city by the new Route 322 Chicon/Cherrywood.
Frequent Routes 18 (from Lake Austin to Enfield) and 335 (from 35th to Westover) will serve Exposition, but there will be a stretch of the road without direct service. Customers will have longer walks to their bus stops under Cap Remap than they do currently. But that portion of the 21/22’s route features comparatively low ridership.
Route 240 serves a hospital. Why are you ending it?
This was another case of Cap Metro needing to make tough decisions about where to use our limited resources. In order to provide strong, reliable and frequent service to so many different corridors and to such a large percentage of our customers, we needed to redirect some service away from low-ridership routes. Route 240 Rutland serves the North Austin Medical Center near Parmer and MoPac. But not a lot of people use that particular portion of the route (about 25 a day).
These decisions are made using research and data, and we don’t do so lightly. Capital Metro receives funding from your taxes, and it’s necessary that we use that money in a way that delivers strong and reliable service to the most people. Cap Remap does that.
As always, if you’ve got further questions, leave them here in the comments, and we’ll try to answer them the best we can. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the GO Line at 512-474-1200.