Proposed June 2012 Service Changes

Capital Metro changes service three times a year, in conjunction with UT and AISD academic calendars. The following is a summary of proposed changes for June 2012:

Summer reductions – UT Shuttle service is reduced during the summer to reflect ridership and enrollment. Ebus service and select trips targeting high-ridership middle schools are suspended until August.

MetroRail schedule adjustment – 1 morning round-trip and 1 afternoon round-trip would be added (including a much-desired 5:55pm Downtown departure). A midday trip would be shortened from Lakeline to Howard to accommodate freight rail. Travel times would also be reduced by 15 percent.

Route realignment to improve customer access – CR Cameron Rd shuttle would be realigned to the Mueller redevelopment (Dell Pediatric Research Institute and Moasic Apartments). Route 18 MLK, Jr./Enfield would be realigned out of MLK Station. A stop would be added at MLK at Alexander Ave.

Schedule adjustments due to high ridership – Saturday frequency on Route 1L/1M North Lamar/South Congress would be improved from 16-20 to 13-18 minutes. This improvement will benefit many weekend customers. It’s important to note that service improvements to Route 1L/1M North Lamar/South Congress on Saturdays would be made possible by the following service reductions:

Schedule adjustments due to low ridership – Early morning frequency on Route 5 Woodrow/South Fifth would be reduced from 40 to 50 minutes. Select trips on Route 935 Tech Ridge would be consolidated to improve efficiency. We have seen a strong correlation between gas prices and commuter ridership and will continue to monitor both closely. Select trips on Route 135 Dell Limited would be eliminated as a result of Route 935 changes. Route 499 Day Labor would be eliminated.

A critical component of the service change process is public involvement. Customer feedback helps Capital Metro fine-tune the service change package and ultimately improve service.

Click here for more information on all of the service change proposals, including details on how to provide feedback.

Revisions to Service Guidelines and Standards

Last week, our board of directors adopted revisions to Capital Metro’s Service Guidelines and Standards. Originally created in 2009, this document is essentially a service planning tool that reflects the mission and goals of Capital Metro.  The guidelines provide a framework for how routes and stops are designed and allocated; and the standards include the process by which services are assessed.

The document was revised to include additional design and evaluation criteria based on best practices and recent service changes. In September, the Customer Satisfaction Advisory Committee reviewed a draft copy and provided valuable feedback that was incorporated into the final document.

Below is a summary of the revisions:


Introduction

All MetroBus and MetroRail services were classified into 3 primary groups (core, UT, special). Core routes are the backbone of our transit system and UT Shuttle routes are unique in terms of function and funding. Special routes serve very specific needs.

Guidelines

Population and employment density are primary influences on transit demand. Service coverage guidelines were updated to focus on areas or corridors with densities that support cost-effective transit. Transit demand also influenced by land use. Transit supportive land use patterns and destinations are discussed in the document. Transit-friendly street and sidewalk characteristics are also noted.

Demographic data such as Census 2010 and Capital Metro’s origin/destination survey help identify neighborhoods with high transit dependency and better understand our community. Household income and auto availability are key indicators. Elderly and youth population are also important factors.

Bus stop spacing guidelines and amenities criteria were simplified. Additional guidelines were added to bus stop placement, which involves a balance of customer safety, accessibility, and operations.

Standards

Service standards focus on schedule reliability, ridership productivity, and cost-effectiveness. Currently, routes are evaluated three times a year. A minimum productivity threshold and criteria for high-performing routes have been established.

The service change process has been added to the document. Service changes allow an opportunity to implement new services and modify route alignments, schedules, bus stops and facilities.


The revised Service Guidelines and Standards provide a more accurate reflection of existing conditions and agency goals. They also assist in identifying needs and evaluating service requests. Guidelines are now more rigorous and less complex. Along with ServicePlan2020, standards provide the basis for cost-effective service planning.

Proposed January Service Changes

Capital Metro changes service three times a year, in conjunction with UT and AISD academic calendars. Service change proposals can vary from minor schedule adjustments to facility integration to large-scale route restructuring.

A critical component of the service change process is public involvement. Customer feedback helps Capital Metro fine-tune the service change package and ultimately improve service.

While most transit agencies across the country are reducing service, Capital Metro has been fortunate enough to maintain similar levels of service over the past few years. As a result, recent service changes have essentially been a reallocation of resources from underutilized routes or trips to areas and corridors with high ridership demand. Continue reading “Proposed January Service Changes”

Proposed August 2011 Service Changes

Capital Metro has proposed service changes for August that would affect bus and rail riders. Beginning next week, we are hosting several public and online meetings to gain input on these potential changes.

Why change service? Well, it allows us an opportunity to adjust bus routes and schedules to best meet customer’s needs and improve efficiency of the system.

ServicePlan2020, which was approved by our board of directors just over a year ago, provides the framework for future service changes. The initial phases focus on improving route directness and connectivity. Capital Metro’s Service Guidelines and Standards are another guiding document for service planning.

Other key factors that can lead to service changes include ridership trends, passenger surveys, travel patterns, demographic data, customer feedback, and changes in land use or infrastructure.

All of this information is used to develop service change proposals that are shared with existing and potential customers and fine-tuned based on feedback.

The August 2011 proposal includes cutting underutilized routes or trips and shifting those resources to make improvements in other areas.

MetroRail ridership has been steadily increasing since January; however, the three downtown rail connector routes continue to have low ridership. Currently, less than 25% of MetroRail riders destined to Downtown transfer to a connector route. Many of those rail riders walk, bike or catch other routes. For that reason, we are proposing to eliminate Routes 460, 461 and 462.

Among the potential improvements is consolidation of the ER Enfield Rd (UT) shuttle and Route 18 Martin Luther King. This change would add Saturday service to the Enfield portion of the route. It would also improve connectivity between UT and ACC Rio Grande and establish a direct east/west path across downtown Austin. This proposed change differs slightly from the West Austin route recommendations in ServicePlan2020 because of customer feedback to keep certain services intact.

Another improvement is the proposal to realign Route 100 Airport Flyer from 7th Street to Riverside. Routing within UT and downtown would also be adjusted to improve access to hotels and minimize travel time. A limited number of stops would be added to the Riverside corridor. Weekday service would see an improvement as buses would run every 30 minutes.

We are also recommending realignment of Route 466. This change would provide a direct connection to the ACC Northridge Campus.

Click here for more information on all of the service change proposals, including details on how to provide feedback.

Thanks for riding Capital Metro. We look forward to hearing from you.

ServicePlan2020 – Upcoming Open Houses

Earlier this year, Capital Metro initiated a comprehensive analysis of our entire bus system that will result in a 10-year service plan.

Two  advisory committees (technical and community) representing regional stakeholders have provided valuable guidance and feedback on the early work of ServicePlan2020. Initial concepts focus on improved efficiency, more direct service to key destinations, and simplified operations in Downtown.

For more detailed information, visit the project website or attend any of the five open houses being held across the area next week. Let us know what you think via email or in person next week. Your feedback will help shape our future bus system.