Our holiday tradition

My favorite holiday tradition at Capital Metro is the annual caroling from our neighbors across the street at Brooke Elementary School. As a thank you to our employees who volunteer at Brooke and help needy families, each year the school puts on a holiday concert in our lobby. Without further ado, please enjoy the third, fourth and fifth graders’ rendition of Silent Night, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad:


COMTO salutes the best in Austin transportation

There will be many familiar faces in the crowd at the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Austin Chapter’s Inaugural Transportation Awards this Friday. Since Capital Metro’s the public transportation provider, it’s no surprise that in addition to our own winners, so many others on the list have a connection to us.

First, let’s start at the top. Capital Metro Board Member Beverly Silas’ day job (our board members serve on a volunteer basis) is running Beverly Silas and Associates, a public involvement/public affairs consulting firm. COMTO selected her firm as the Women Owned Business of the Year.

Linda S. Watson, Capital Metro’s president/CEO, is co-winner of the Executive of the Year award. Here’s an excerpt from Linda’s nomination:

Since the moment Linda S. Watson walked in the door as president/CEO of Capital Metro in 2010, her goal has been to raise the bar and transform the agency into the valuable and highly-respected public service that the community deserves.

Watson made organizational changes, developed a strong executive leadership team, improved business practices and lead the development of a new strategic plan that provides guidance, oversight and accountability for every decision Capital Metro makes.

The COMTO nomination committee must have had a hard time deciding this category. Linda will share the award with Bobby Stone who’s the executive director of UT’s Parking and Transportation Services. That still keeps the award in the Capital Metro extended family since we work closely with Bobby and his staff on UT Shuttle matters.

Continue reading “COMTO salutes the best in Austin transportation”

MetroRail motivation

It’s hard to get motivated when you start your day stuck in a bumper-to-bumper logjam on the highway. That’s why hundreds of people attending the Get Motivated seminar at the Austin Convention Center yesterday opted to ride MetroRail instead of tangling with traffic.

Customers leaving the Get Motivated senimar wait for the train at Downtown Station

Based on preliminary figures, we provided more than 2,800 trips on the train. That’s about 1,000 more than a typical weekday. In fact, we pulled in some extra buses to pick up passengers from the rail stations since there were so many people waiting to ride. 

Here’s what some of our customers said on Twitter yesterday:

Continue reading “MetroRail motivation”

Transit for Turkey Time

It’s almost turkey time, and if you hurry, you can gobble up a free bus pass for the 22nd annual Austin Feast of Sharing dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 22 from 4 – 8 p.m. at the Palmer Events Center.

Every year, Capital Metro and H-E-B team up to offer transportation for the event. Trot over to one of these stores and pick-up a free day pass (while supplies last) that’s valid only for the day of the feast:

  • H-E-B #1 – 2701 E. 7th St.
  • H-E-B #3 – 1000 E. 41st St.
  • H-E-B #8 – 2400 S. Congress Ave.
  • H-E-B #12 – 2508 E. Riverside Dr.
  • H-E-B #15 – 9414 N. Lamar

Then stuff your address into our trip planner to find the best route to get to 900 Barton Springs Road.

With the generous help of hundreds of people from H-E-B and other community volunteers, the Feast of Sharing will serve a bountiful Thanksgiving feast to more than 13,000 people from Austin, Travis County and surrounding communities.

If you aren’t quite ready for Thanksgiving, maybe this list will put you in the mood. The feast will include: Continue reading “Transit for Turkey Time”

MetroAccess: Change is good

“You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow.” 

That famous (but unattributed) quote is what I thought of when our MetroAccess staff gave a progress report to our operations and planning committee this month.

We have been systematically reinventing the service over the past two years, and the progress report showed dramatic improvements in terms of cost savings, consistency and quality of service. The biggest indicator is the improvement in our customer service metrics, which have been mostly exemplary for the past few months.

There’s one major change on the horizon, a new eligibility process, which will be implemented in November of this year. Here’s a video preview of that change:

I’ll go through all the changes and the compelling results in a moment, but first, a quick refresher on the service itself. MetroAccess is an on-demand, shared-ride, door-to-door service for people with disabilities who are unable to ride the fixed-route bus system. In the industry it’s called “paratransit” because it is a parallel service to the bus system.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires paratransit within ¾ of a mile of regular local bus routes. It’s also important to note that the existence of a disability does not qualify someone for this service. It’s how a disability affects your ability to use the fixed route bus system that determines eligibility.

Here’s a look at the changes and progress: Continue reading “MetroAccess: Change is good”

Taking care of business

Op-Ed from Sunday’s Austin American-Statesman:

Watson: Capital Metro moving forward fiscally, transparently

Linda S. Watson, Local Contributor

Capital Metro is taking care of business and doing things differently these days. Some difficult but necessary budget decisions will put the organization on a stronger financial path for the future so we can continue to provide the high-quality service this community deserves.

Just like other public and private businesses and your family budget at home, we are facing tough economic times. But this is not the same Capital Metro that it was just a few years ago. We have raised the bar by strengthening our leadership, business practices and transparency. This progress is reflected in our proposed budget for the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, and in the recent recognition of Capital Metro by the Texas comptroller of public accounts as a leader in local government transparency.

Through disciplined budget work, Capital Metro has reduced spending across the board by carefully scrutinizing every line item, delaying construction projects, leaving vacant positions unfilled and adjusting lower-performing bus routes. Continue reading “Taking care of business”