Gateway Transit

In just a few short weeks—October 2, to be exact—the ‘Dillo trolleys will circle downtown for the last time and ride into the sunset, aka the Capital Metro Bus Yard, for retirement. Routes #450 Congress ‘Dillo and #451 6th Street ‘Dillo will be suspended.RIP'Dillos

Staff recommended the suspension to help balance the budget for next year. The ‘Dillos were seen as the least disruptive service cut, because ridership on the ‘Dillos has been very low and there is alternate service along Congress, 5th and 6th Streets. (If you relied upon the ‘Dillos and are wondering which routes would be a good substitute for you, stay tuned—we’re developing a new transit map specifically for this purpose.) Continue reading “Gateway Transit”

June 2009 Service Change: ‘Dillos

Another proposal in the June 2009 Service Change is to eliminate weekend service on the ‘Dillos, both #450 Congress Ave. and #451 6th Street. Unfortunately no one is riding the ‘Dillos on weekends. Well, that’s not exactly true. On any given ‘Dillo trip made on weekends, there’s on average between two and four people on it.

You may recall that last year the ‘Dillo system got a major overhaul: In Aug. 2008 we streamlined the routes and schedules so that they could operate as they were originally intended: as downtown circulators. During the week, the ‘Dillos work great transporting downtown workers and residents to meetings, lunch, and shopping errands. On weekends, the vision was that the ‘Dillos would attract tourists, weekend shoppers, and downtown residents. And it does, just not enough of them to justify the service. Of all of Capital Metro’s routes that operate on weekends, the ‘Dillos have the fewest riders—2-4 riders per trip, as I mentioned. By contrast, #1L/1M, our busiest route, carries about 80 people per trip on weekends. The poor economy may play a role in the low ridership, since today there’s perhaps fewer tourists and weekend shoppers milling around downtown.

Public input is always sought before any service change proposal is adopted, and the public hearing about the June 2009 Service Change is today at 12:30 p.m., at Capital Metro’s headquarters, 2910 E. 5th Street.

Last chance to buy a ‘Dillo

You might remember in November we advertised some retired ‘Dillos for sale in an online auction. All told, we had 12 ‘Dillo trolleys to sell, and the last two are currently up for auction on GovDeals.

You may be asking, what can you do with an old ‘Dillo?

For inspiration, ask Karisa Prestera, who turned an old ‘Dillo into the retail outlet of her business, Taste No Evil Muffins. Karisa transformed the ‘Dillo into the whimsical store seen above and sells her muffins there six days a week.

Karisa advertises the former-‘Dillo-headquarters on her Facebook page as part of what makes her business uniquely Austin. Here is the “before” photo:
(Check out the Taste No Evil Muffin Company on Facebook for a series of photos documenting the retired ‘Dillo’s transformation.)

This particular ‘Dillo is an older model than the ones currently for sale online, possibly in service even prior to Capital Metro’s formation in 1985. The Taste No Evil Muffins trolley isn’t operational, but has a permanent home outside the eclectic Maria’s Taco Xpress on South Lamar. (Ride routes #3, 29, 331, or 338 to get to the muffin trolley.)

I mentioned to Karisa that she could upgrade her ‘Dillo to one that actually runs, and she’d love to if only she had $30,000 to spend (more or less the going rate for the other ‘Dillos we’ve sold). Instead, she is saving her dough to install convection ovens in the trolley–maybe as early as this spring–so she can move 100% of her operations into the muffin trolley. That would make Taste No Evil Muffins the first complete bakery bus. (Well maybe not the very first, but at least the very first bakery in a former ‘Dillo!)

You can bid on the two remaining ‘Dillos through Jan. 14.