CapMetro & COVID-19

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In response to the rapidly evolving situation involving COVID19, Capital Metro continues to implement measures designed to protect our staff, promote public health and ensure that we continue to provide service to all parts of our community.

These measures have included:

  • All bus operators are provided with a bottle of hand sanitizer and latex gloves. The agency is following guidance from Austin Public Health and the CDC with respect to masks. While operators are not being issued masks to wear while driving, they may do so if they choose.
  • We enhanced our cleaning operations more than two weeks ago, which included the daily sanitizing of all hand touch surfaces. We will soon increase those cleaning procedures even further, with disinfecting of vehicles taking place throughout the day. To help us achieve this, we’ve hired 50 part-time cleaners. No experience is needed, and training will be provided. Work will start as early as tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24.
  • Customers must board their bus through the rear door to protect the health and safety of our bus operators and customers. During this emergency situation, we trust that our customers will continue to respect the agency’s fare system.
  • We have placed “skip a seat” signs on all CapMetro vehicles to encourage customers to leave some space between each other and practice social distancing.
  • We have developed a new policy that would provide up to three weeks of supplemental sick leave for employees of CapMetro and our contractors. This would apply if the employee or a member of their household is affected by COVID-19.
  • We’re also starting a new CapMetro Family Care team, whose sole purpose is to be an additional resource to answer questions, provide comfort and find solutions for those who are impacted by this crisis.

CapMetro Implements Temporary Service Changes

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In response to the COVID-19 emergency, CapMetro services will operate a modified schedule, seven days a week beginning Wednesday, March 18.

Service Impacts

Capital Metro will implement changes to its service designed to protect employees, promote public health and ensure that we continue to provide service to all parts of our community.

Capital Metro services, including MetroBus, MetroRapid, MetroExpress and MetroRail will operate on a modified schedule.

You can read about those service changes at CapMetro.org/COVID19.

Customer/Employee Care & Safety

To further ensure customer and bus operator health and safety, we ask that customers board their bus through the rear door. We also ask that they respect the agency’s fare system during this emergency situation.

Capital Metro designed these new measures to improve social distancing for our employees and customers, while still providing necessary transit to critical services.

Prevention and Awareness

We are following guidance from Austin Public Health and continue to monitor the situation.

In addition to our daily cleaning procedures for all CapMetro vehicles and transit facilities, we are applying a disinfectant to common hand contact areas, such as poles and handrails, armrests, door handles and stop request buttons.

Later this week, we will install special signs encouraging social distancing on our vehicles.

Along with these efforts, we need your help:

  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Maintain good hygiene.
  • Limit your non-essential travel as much as possible, especially to locations with many people.
  • Limiting your contact with others is the best way to stay healthy.

If you think you might be getting sick, please stay home and contact your healthcare provider.

Visit Austin Public Health’s information page for up-to-date, detailed information: austintexas.gov/COVID19.

CapMetro Community Update

As a primary source of transportation for many in our community, CapMetro must address the COVID-19 situation while maintaining safe, critical transit services and a safe work environment.

PREVENTION & AWARENESS

  • We implemented enhanced daily cleaning procedures on March 2 for all CapMetro transit vehicles and facilities by applying a disinfectant to common hand contact areas such as poles and handrails, armrests, door handles and stop request buttons.
  • Safe hygiene messages developed by Austin Public Health were added to all CapMetro vehicles, and we’ve included these hygiene reminders at our bus and rail stop digital signs where available. CapMetro has also emphasized these messages on its social media channels.
  • While it is not logistically feasible to add hand sanitizers to hundreds of buses and thousands of stops, our customers and employees are encouraged to practice regular hand washing to reduce the risk of public spread.
  • We asked our customers to stay home if they are feeling sick and to follow guidelines from Austin Public Health.

RESPONSE MANAGEMENT

  • We activated an internal Coronavirus Task Force to provide around-the-clock assistance to the Capital Metro service area and can act swiftly should we be alerted to a case of coronavirus affecting our employees or service.
  • Our senior leadership team has met daily to prepare to address the evolving situation.
  • Additionally, we have been in discussion with transit industry leaders throughout Texas and nationally to ensure we are collaborating on best practices for monitoring the COVID-19 impact.
  • Capital Metro is working closely with Austin Public Health, and we are following its guidance on recent developments on COVID-19.

EMPLOYEE CARE & SAFETY

  • The health and safety of all personnel remains our primary concern. We continue to maintain safe, clean work environments.
  • All staff are being encouraged to stay home if sick.
  • CapMetro’s leadership team, management of contracted services and union leadership are working together to support any employee who needs to take sick time away from their duties or if we have to reduce service levels.
  • CapMetro has developed contingency plans for remote staffing and systems redundancy for operations and administrative functions as a part of our business continuity plan.

SERVICE IMPACTS

  • In coordination with The University of Texas, Capital Metro stopped running all UT Shuttle routes at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 13, and we will not run this service during Spring Break. We will continue to work with UT to adjust service based on campus activities.
  • CapMetro is in close coordination with centers that care for vulnerable populations. Therefore, MetroAccess clients who have questions specific to their service can review an informational question-and-answer update tailored to their needs at CapMetro.org/MetroAccess-FAQ

FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS

  • CapMetro will continue to analyze and modify its operations with guidance from Austin Public Health and the impact of personnel availability.
  • CapMetro has developed continuity of operations plans, and should there be a need to modify service or fare policies we will share these updates on our website, send to local media and publish to our MetroAlerts subscribers.


We thank you for your patience and support as we deliver critical transportation services for our community.

CapMetro Public Health Statement

generalalertCapital Metro is following guidance from Austin Public Health and continues to monitor the situation involving the corona virus and COVID-19. In addition to daily cleaning procedures of all CapMetro vehicles and transit facilities, we have begun applying a disinfectant to common hand contact areas such as poles and handrails, armrests, door handles and stop request buttons.

To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including flu and COVID-19, please follow standard hygiene measures.

New Performance Dashboards Offer Peak Behind the Scenes

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:

  • Ridership
  • Safety
  • 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.

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Sample Ridership Dashboard for Route 4 – 7th Street

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.)

New CapMetro.org almost here

new-siteThe wait is almost over.

Well, most of you haven’t been waiting that long, but we here at Capital Metro have been working behind the scenes for about 2 years on our new website. We put up a version of the site a month ago to allow you a preview, and we’ve heard some great feedback and worked out a few kinks.

But, in 2 more days, it won’t be “the new site” or “the preview site” or “the beta site,” or any of the names we’ve been calling it all these months. It’ll just be our website. And, we’re excited about that and look forward to you being able to use it full time.

(The site will, however, be unavailable for a limited amount of time during the transfer from old to new beginning Wednesday at 8 p.m. We recommend you use the CapMetro App or call the Customer Service GO Line at 512-474-1200 for all of your trip-planning needs during that time.) Continue reading “New CapMetro.org almost here”

Oh, YAY! CapMetro App hits 100K

0096_brio-photographyOh, snap! One of y’all did it, and we’re grateful for it. We’re not sure who it was, but someone out there last week put the CapMetro App on their phone and pushed us past a milestone: 100,000 accounts.

Capital Metro was among the first transit agencies in the country to launch a mobile app that not only provides maps and timetables, but also gives departure information in real-time and allows users to purchase a digital ticket. That happened in January 2014, and since then more than 100,000 of you have put it on your phone and gotten down to the business of planning a trip, buying a ticket and riding a bus or train.

That’s a full DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium of CapMetro Apps! That’s as if everyone in San Angelo got the app. That’s the same as a 11 ½ capacity crowds of CapMetro Apps at the Cedar Park Center.

OK, this may have gotten a bit silly, but you get the idea. It’s a lot of people taking public transit and using the tools we’ve designed to make doing so easier.

The great thing about the CapMetro App is that it turns your phone into a pass. With the app, you can buy:

  • Day Passes (Local, Premium and Commuter)
  • 7-Day Passes (Local, Premium and Commuter)
  • 31-Day Passes (Local, Premium and Commuter)
  • Reduced Fare 31-Day Passes (Local, Premium and Commuter)
  • MetroAccess Single Ride, 10-Ride and monthly passes

When planning a trip with the app, you can select favorite destinations, designate specific routes and trips so that you can return to them often, and customize a trip to determine which mode (MetroRapid or Local bus, for example, or perhaps to decide between the MetroRail or a MetroFlyer route).

What we’re saying here is that the CapMetro App is great, and a whole lot of you are using it. Thanks for that!

And, for those who aren’t yet using it, please give it a shot. You’ll be glad you did. It’s available by visiting the app store for your Apple, Android or Windows mobile device. You can also buy and manage your CapMetro App passes with our Online Marketplace.

Connections 2025 – July Update

It’s almost here – a draft transit plan!

What we’ve heard

We have been busy reviewing the system and listening to you, our community, about how to improve Capital Metro. The Transit Priorities Survey we hosted on Connections2025.org from May 25 through June 24, received more than 500 responses. In it, you let us know your priorities given the reality of limited funding.

So what did we hear?  87% voted for improving frequency (more service, more often on key corridors) over wider coverage within Capital Metro’s service area (service to more destinations, less often). This information, combined with the input we’ve received from riders and community members throughout this process, helps guide us as we draft our new transit network. Open houses will continue in September. Thanks for taking the time to shape the future of transit in Central Texas. Visit Connections2025.org to view the full survey results!

graphic Continue reading “Connections 2025 – July Update”

Leave Your Car at Home and Become a Two-Timer

Two Timer LogoTraffic congestion in Central Texas is bad and getting worse. Drivers stuck in traffic on I-35 or MoPac know this only too well. In fact, Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s recently released Urban Mobility Scorecard shows that in 2014 a peak-hour trip in the Austin area took 33 percent longer than that same trip would take in less congested traffic.

Furthermore, the Austin Mobility Report, published by the Austin Chamber of Commerce in 2013, shows that traffic will worsen significantly in the coming years if people don’t shift from riding in single occupancy vehicles. The study noted that 74,000 people driving alone each day during rush hour would need to move into alternate modes of transportation in the coming years just to keep traffic flowing as it is today!

HectorThat’s why Capital Metro has launched a new initiative we hope you’ll try: leave your car at home and take transit twice a week, or in other words, become a regular “Two-Timer.” If you’re not sure how to take public transportation in Austin, no worries. We’re happy to show you just how fun and easy it can be. Three videos show how easy it is to use the CapMetro App to plan and pay for your trip, and monitor in real-time when the next bus will depart—all designed to provide new levels of flexibility and convenience. Continue reading “Leave Your Car at Home and Become a Two-Timer”