This year during SXSW, Capital Metro has deployed three K-9 teams to deter crime through random, unannounced searches and sweeps at our facilities and on our transit vehicles. The K-9s are trained to detect odors from materials and chemicals used to make explosives. Continue reading “Sniffing Out Crime”
By Reinet Marneweck, Capital Metro CFO
Today, Capital Metro officially launched our online Performance Dashboards on CapMetro.org after presenting them to our board of directors. The initiative is another step in Capital Metro’s effort to be transparent and provide data in a clear and efficient manner, both for our board and the public.
The new Performance Dashboards will track metrics in four important categories:
- Service Reliability
- Financial Transparency
These dashboards will collect data from our various internal systems across multiple applications. They’ll replace quarterly reports agency staff has been providing to board members, as well as the monthly ridership stats posted online. We think the dashboards will result in better data-driven decision-making, improved data consistency and increased transparency.
The quality of the information provided will increase greatly with the Performance Dashboards. As an example, we formerly had provided a spreadsheet with raw ridership data divided among services and service providers. The Ridership Dashboard, on the other hand, will provide context for that data. It will show systemwide year-over-year trends (for the entire system or for an individual route) and display the top five routes over the past two years. It will also offer views on ridership by route for different parts of the week, be it weekdays, Saturdays or Sundays.
This is also an ongoing project that will grow and change. We’ll soon augment the Ridership Dashboard with in-depth route-by-route information and add a scorecard measuring our performance against the Capital Metro Strategic Plan.
To view the Performance Dashboards, scroll to the bottom of any page on our website and click the button labeled “Performance.”
We also want to hear from you and to discover what you are interested in learning about. If there’s data that you don’t see but wish you had access to, please let us know by emailing Feedback@CapMetro.org. (Be sure to put Performance Dashboards in the subject line, so we can keep track and forward it to the appropriate team.)
Capital Metro President and CEO Randy Clarke spoke today to the Travis County Commissioners Court about an upcoming study of the MetroRail Green Line, a proposed commuter rail service between Austin and Manor.
The study will be funded by a $600,000 grant provided by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) won by the agency in December 2018. It will examine the potential for transit-oriented development (TOD) along the Green Line, which is one of several corridors identified as potential Project Connect services, the long-term vision for a regional public transportation system.
The Green Line would operate on 15 miles of track owned by Capital Metro. It would travel east from Downtown Station toward Johnny Morris Road and the Colony Park area of eastern Travis County before reaching Manor.
Cap Metro is thrilled once again to work with our partners at the Austin Public Library to bring folks down to the UT Austin campus for Girl Day on February 23. The event will bring together more than 8,000 elementary and middle school students on campus to celebrate International Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, which is called just Girl Day (or even #UTGirlDay if you like a hashtag).
The students will be able to do a ton of hands-on stuff that’ll get them familiar with what engineers do and how they make the world work. The kids will work with more than 1,500 UT students, faculty members and professional engineers from around Central Texas. They’ll also have loads of fun!
(And, just to be clear, boys are welcome, too.)
The festival takes place on campus from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23. All are welcome. That is, if you can get down there. You know, with the traffic and the parking fees and the headaches. That’s where we come in.
We’re providing free Park & Ride services from 6 Austin Public Library locations for the day, giving you the chance to avoid the hassle and cost that come with trying to get to and park on campus. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can park at any of the 6 library locations listed below, go inside to request your free Local Day Pass and Trip Guide, and then hop on the bus. You can also download a free digital Day Pass to your CapMetro App and, as always, KIDS RIDE FREE.
YOU MUST REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE RIDE AT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:
- Little Walnut Creek Branch | 835 West Rundberg Lane | Routes 1, 801
- Pleasant Hill Branch | 211 East William Cannon Drive | Routes 1, 801
- Recycled Reads Bookstore | 5335 Burnet Road | Routes 3, 803 (* Opens at Noon *)
- Ruiz Branch | 1600 Grove Boulevard | Route 20
- Southeast Branch | 5803 Nuckols Crossing Road | Route 7
- Windsor Park | 5833 Westminster Drive | Route 10
To plan your trip to Girl Day (or anywhere else), visit capmetro.org/planner.
This month, a stretch of West 5th Street will debut a big change for Central Austin: a bus & bike-only lane that will speed transit service into downtown and encourage people to get out of their cars and onto the bus.
The new lane on 5th Street west of MoPac is similar to the bus-priority lanes on Guadalupe and Lavaca Streets. Working with Cap Metro, the Austin Transportation Department is converting a bike lane that ran all the way to Lamar Blvd into a dedicated bus & bike lane for a half-mile section between West Lynn and Baylor Streets.
The bus & bike lane will have signal priority for the traffic light at West 5th & Baylor. That means while all other traffic is stopped at a red light, buses and bicycles will be allowed through the intersection. Bikes will continue in the same lane, and buses will be free to switch lanes as they proceed toward the busy Lamar & 5th Street intersection.
The reason we’re doing this is to save time for our customers by allowing buses to travel free from other traffic, just as we did last year when MetroExpress routes began to use the MoPac Express Lanes. Currently during peak traffic times, it takes our buses between 7 and 10 minutes to go from MoPac through the Lamar & 5th Street intersection. We expect this change to cut that time in half!
Five routes operate on West 5th St.:
- Route 4 7th Street (a High-Frequency route that operates every 15 minutes)
- UT Shuttle Route 663 Lake Austin
- MetroExpress Route 980 North MoPac Express
- MetroExpress Route 981 Oak Knoll Express
- MetroExpress Route 985 Leander/Lakeline Direct
Those five routes send roughly 20 buses through that corridor per hour during peak commute times. And now they’ll be doing so in half the time.
This is just the start, too. Capital Metro and the city of Austin have long worked closely together, and that partnership is getting stronger. Later in the spring, we’ll have more to announce on this front.
By Dave Dech, VP of Rail Operations
Capital Metro has been working to put in place a positive train control (PTC) system along the 32-mile MetroRail line. We have now met an important threshold by completing all of the statutory requirements to qualify for an extension to the federally mandated deadline of Dec. 31.
PTC is a technological upgrade of the nation’s rail lines designed to create an additional layer of safety to rail. Congress mandated the improvements back in 2009 and gave rail operators until the end of this year to implement PTC.
The good thing is that Capital Metro has met all of the statutory requirements, which enables us to request the extension. Essentially, that means we’ve demonstrated sufficient progress on the project to convince the government that we’re on our way to full implementation. The Federal Railroad Administration is now reviewing our request, and we expect to receive notice of approval within 90 days. Until then, Capital Metro will continue to operate and continue work on PTC implementation. That means that customers will still occasionally experience disruptions to MetroRail service during this work.
Cap Metro is among many rail operators across the country to request this extension, including Caltrain in the San Francisco Bay area and New Jersey Transit. It allows the agency another two years to fully implement the PTC system, a goal that we are committed to reaching.