See Our Budget & Tell Us What You Think

Budget 2020Capital Metro operates using your tax dollars, and we take that responsibility seriously. We are fully transparent about how we spend that money, and we invite the public to review our budget to ensure we are using your money wisely.

And beginning this week we’re going to do just that, and you’ll have six chances to hear about our proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2020 and ask questions. Wherever you are — north of the river or south, in Leander or downtown Austin — we’ve got an option for you to participate at our busiest transit centers. So please do!

  • Leander Station | Thu., 8/15 | 6:30 to 8:30 a.m.
  • Republic Square Park | Tue., 8/27 | 4-6 p.m.
  • Plaza Saltillo Station | Wed., 8/28 | 4-6 p.m.
  • Norwood Walmart | Thu., 8/29 | 7-9 a.m.
  • Westgate Transit Center | Thu., 8/29 | 4-6 p.m.
  • Lakeline Station | Fri., 8/30 | 6:30 to 8:30 a.m.

We’ll post the entire budget online soon to let you review it in full. So, come prepared with questions and comments. Members of our staff will be there to answer your questions, either about the budget or just about anything else Capital Metro does.

Drivers Be Mindful of Students Returning to School

It is important for drivers to be careful every time they get behind the wheel, and it takes on added importance when school is back in session. Children will be hitting the streets, walking, biking and riding the bus. And they’re not just riding in big yellow school buses. There are plenty of students who take Capital Metro — which is free for riders younger than 18 — to get to and from school or to activities after school.

Kids in Austin ISD go back to school Aug. 20, so take extra care and be aware of children crossing to bus stops or entering or exiting CapMetro and school buses.

Also, be aware of school zones and crosswalks. Stop when crosswalks are occupied if the crosswalk is marked with a sign, even if there is no light and no stop sign.

There will be a lot of youngsters making their start at school, so they won’t always have the experience of watching for traffic or knowing when to cross. That’s why it’s important for drivers to be extremely cautious and watchful for our  students who might still be learning pedestrian safety.

The new school year is always a time for adjustment. With some added awareness, we can all help get the school year off to a safe start.

Safety Tips for College Students

Welcome back to the new school year! There is a lot to be excited about for new students starting their college experience, and for returning students continuing to make memories.

But with events, activities, festivals, and of course, football games filling your fall, Capital Metro wants to make sure all sports and festival fans are keeping themselves safe going to and from these events.

It can be really easy to move and walk with the crowd. A herd mentality starts to take over. That doesn’t mean you’re protected from distracted drivers. Keep your head up and continue to look for traffic when events let out. Don’t just spill into the street where you run the risk of getting hit.

If you are headed for some post-event festivities and have mapped your trek, make sure your eyes aren’t glued to your screen the entire time. Check your phone periodically and only when you’re safely on the sidewalk or a corner out of the street.

College provides a lot of fun and there are plenty of memories to be made. Keep yourself and your friends safe to enjoy them. Remember, CapMetro is always a good choice for a safe ride.

 

Don’t Take Shortcuts: Use the Crosswalk

We all have places to be and we all want to get there as quickly as possible. If there’s a shortcut, we typically take it.

But there’s one shortcut you should never take, and that’s crossing the street in the middle of the block. It’s illegal, but most of all it’s dangerous.

The distance across six lanes of traffic may seem like nothing compared to a trek to the corner, crossing the street and then walking to where you need to be. But the risk is never worth it.

Crosswalks provide pedestrians an extra level of protection from oncoming traffic.  Vehicles are required to stop when pedestrians are in the street, however, crosswalks and clearly marked intersections provide a visual reminder for drivers that pedestrians are part of the equation. Plus, drivers expect to see pedestrians at crosswalks. They know to be careful when approaching an intersection. The same is certainly not always true midblock.

There is too much riding on your safety to risk crossing heavily trafficked lanes, all in the name of saving some time. It’s just not worth it.

Simple tips can keep kids safe on CapMetro

Capital Metro is a great, affordable way for kids to get out and have some fun this summer with all kids under 18 riding for free.

Whether you’re escorting your kids, or they ride CapMetro themselves, it is important to reinforce some safety messages to get them securely from Point A to B.

On CapMetro buses 

Always cross at a crosswalk. The bus stop may be in the middle of the block, but it’s safer to go to the corner and cross with the traffic light or at a clearly marked intersection. When crossing, encourage your kids to look left, right, then left again. Don’t cross until it’s clear and remind them to keep checking while crossing. If there’s a light, wait for the “walk” light before crossing. If it’s a four-way stop with signs, have your kids make eye contact with drivers to ensure they have been seen before attempting to cross.

Kids need to stay focused on their surroundings, so they should take out their earbuds to concentrate on the traffic and their environment when traveling to the bus stop. Kids should also stay on the sidewalk if it’s available. If there isn’t one, remind them to move against the flow of traffic. This makes it easier to see oncoming vehicles and for those vehicles to see them.

Once on board, children should find an available seat as soon as possible or hold onto the passenger rails until a seat becomes available. When exiting, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before leaving your seat and heading for the door.

Children (and adults) should never chase a bus. Another one is usually a few minutes away. Also, just like in school, never cross in front of a bus, into traffic.

On MetroRail

Kids need to keep their eyes up and look out for MetroRail trains which are faster and quieter than freight trains. MetroRail trains also aren’t required to blow horns in designated quiet zones.

Tracks should only be crossed at designated crossings. Remind kids they need to stay clear from walking alongside tracks as well. The area 25 feet on each side of the tracks between Downtown Station and Gracy Farms crossing is CapMetro right-of-way and off-limits. Anyone in that space is considered trespassing. The right-of-way extends to 50 feet on either side of the tracks from Gracy Farms to Leander.

Following these guidelines can help everyone, especially kids, have a fun and safe summer using CapMetro to get around.

Capital Metro offers accessibility for everyone

Capital Metro is committed to providing all passengers safe and reliable transit.

That commitment absolutely extends to customers with disabilities. CapMetro complies with all applicable rules and regulations issued by the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration and makes modifications to its vehicles, policies and procedures to accommodate people with disabilities.

“Kneeling” buses are one accommodation. If it’s too hard to step up into the bus, the operator can physically lower the bus making it easier to step aboard.

Customers using wheelchairs or other wheeled mobility devices can board via a deployable ramp that allows riders to roll onto the vehicle. Some buses also have ramps that lower and lift passengers using mobility devices.

You may have noticed a bus operator assisting a passenger in a wheelchair or wheeled mobility device. What they are doing is securing the device with straps to ensure safety. Bus operators also help remove the straps when the passenger is ready to get off.

MetroRail trains and station platforms offer level boarding. There are special sections on MetroRail cars to accommodate customers with wheelchairs and wheeled mobility devices.

Please remember these marked areas in the front of the bus and trains are reserved for people who need extra time entering and exiting vehicles. That includes customers with disabilities and older adults. Always do the right thing and yield those seats to the folks who need them.

Accessibility isn’t just limited to the buses or trains. it is important that sidewalks and curb cuts be kept clear of obstacles like dockless scooters, bicycles and other impediments. Drivers also need to keep their eyes up at intersections and attentive to people in wheelchairs, pedestrians using mobility canes, and older adults in the crosswalk who might need extra time to get across the street.

Also know it is a crime to deface Braille on any signs at bus and rail stops. Defaced Braille prevents blind and low-vision passengers from getting the information they need to travel.

Austin is an inclusive city and CapMetro is part of the foundation of that inclusivity. All passengers should feel comfortable and confident riding on our buses and trains and traveling the city’s streets and sidewalks.

More information on the accessibility services CapMetro offers may be found at https://capmetro.org/accessibility.

Scoot Your Commute

In the past year more than 14,000 dockless scooters have joined the ranks of the various modes of transit available to Austinites. While travel by scooter may only be for recreation or the last mile of your commute, it is important to make it to your destination safely. During National Safety Month Capital Metro wants to emphasize the importance of how to stay safe when you are scooting around Austin.

Scooter riders and cyclists are more vulnerable than other vehicles on the road. Take a cue from cyclists and wear a helmet when you ride. Additionally, you should always ride with the flow of traffic, and pay attention to all traffic signs and signals. Use bike lanes whenever available. Doing these things gives drivers around you more time to react and share the road.

Be careful to avoid distracted scooting. Distractions come in many forms, from listening to your music to talking or texting on your phone. In Austin, scooter riders must abide by the city’s hands-free cell phone ordinance, so pack up your device and enjoy the ride. Finally, you should never ride a scooter when you are impaired. By avoiding these distractions, you not only make travel safer for yourself, you make travel safer for the other vehicles and pedestrians around you.

Look out for pedestrians, especially in high foot traffic areas. Riding in bike lanes helps you avoid pedestrian traffic. Because your scooter is quick and silent, pedestrians don’t always hear you coming, so don’t be shy with that bell most scooters have. And remember to always yield to people walking on sidewalks. Making yourself familiar with local ordinances empowers you to know where it is safe to ride.

If your destination is a little farther than you would feel comfortable scooting, ride a Capital Metro bus to get closer. It’s quick, easy, and will save you money. Make sure to park your scooter in a safe area out of the path of bus riders and pedestrians before you get on board.

It may seem like there is a lot more to riding on scooters, but it’s because we all have a lot riding on safety.