More shelters coming to CapMetro bus stops

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Texas weather can change in an instant. One minute it’s hot and sunny, without a cloud in the sky. The next, it’s pouring rain.

CapMetro shelters help protect riders from the elements as they await their buses. Soon, even more of those shelters will be in place to keep passengers safe and comfortable.

An estimated 800 shelters have already been constructed, accounting for around a third of all CapMetro bus stops. Following a unanimous vote at CapMetro’s July board meeting, held July 25, approximately 550 more shelters will be acquired from Tolar Manufacturing Inc. The $8.4 million contract has a one-year base period, with four one-year options.

Tolar is already familiar with CapMetro, having previously constructed bus shelters for the agency.

CapMetro’s green bus shelters are being retired.

Of those 550 shelters, an estimated 150 shelters will be new to the CapMetro network. The rest will replace CapMetro’s existing ubiquitous green shelters, many of which are nearing the end of their useful lifespans.

“The new shelters are an upgrade to the old ones because they provide additional weather protection,” said Moraima Dones, a technical program/project manager at CapMetro. “They safeguard passengers from the sun, wind and rain, plus the cool paint color minimizes heat buildup.”

The new shelters will be installed by CapMetro employees.

All 500 of the shelters will be placed along fixed routes. CapMetroRapid stops already have shelters in place.

Typically, in order to qualify for a shelter, a bus stop must have a minimum of 50 boardings per day. Exceptions are, however, made in special circumstances, such as when a stop is in close proximity to social service agencies, schools, medical facilities or future development sites.

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CapMetro shelters offer riders protection from the elements, including sun and rain.

Solar power helps CapMetro light up the night

So far, about 125 CapMetro bus shelters have solar lighting.

Welcome to the CapMetro blog, where we regularly highlight CapMetro’s many offerings and its best-in-class workforce.

At CapMetro, your safety and security are our top priority all day, every day.

We are constantly searching for new – and better – ways to keep passengers and operators safe.

To that end, CapMetro is embarking upon an ambitious new program that will result in solar lighting at more than 900 bus stops systemwide within the next five years. The focus will be on fixed-route stops; all CapMetroRapid stops already have lighting.

The multi-year solar lighting program was approved by CapMetro’s board of directors at the July board meeting held July 25. The contract with SELS USA LLC calls for a one-year base period and four option years. The total cost over five years is estimated at $1.1 million.

“We are committed to providing amenities for our riders’ well-being beyond bus essential services,” said Moraima Dones, a technical program/project manager at CapMetro. “The lights are important because they provide safety, security and visibility.”

The lights need no electricity to operate, helping to promote sustainability. After initial installation expenses, the solar panels will result in years of lighting before dawn and after dusk at no cost to CapMetro.

Lights will be located at sheltered and unsheltered stops. At shelters, the lights are roof-mounted; at most unsheltered stops, lights will be placed atop existing signage poles. Stops that are heavily shaded will instead get solar streetlights mounted atop newly installed poles – something not presently in use in the CapMetro network.

Currently, there is solar lighting at approximately 165 stops – 125 stops with shelters and 40 unsheltered stops. An additional 750 stops will get similar lighting within five years, according to Kenneth Cartwright, CapMetro’s Vice President of Capital Projects.

The board unanimously approved the proposal. At the meeting, board member Eric Stratton praised Cartwright and his team for their continued efforts to increase safety and security at bus stops.

“This is phenomenal,” Stratton said. “I want to thank the staff. How amazing is this? This is a huge victory, a huge win. I want to thank you all for how responsive you’ve been to us as a board and also to the community requests on this.”

CapMetro welcomes – and encourages – your comments on our blog. Comments that are abusive in nature will be removed, in accordance with our social media policy.