Happy Trails To You…

Cap Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson (right), Austin City Councilman Chris Riley (center) & Bike Austin Executive Director Tom Wald (left)
Cap Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson (right), Austin City Councilman Chris Riley (center) & Bike Austin Executive Director Tom Wald (left)

The evolution of Capital Metro’s commitment to a walkable, bicycle-friendly, connected region continued Friday, August 02, 2013 as the urban trail connecting Crestview and Highland stations officially opened. The nearly one-mile long trail, created in conjunction with the City of Austin, connects transit hubs, businesses and the forthcoming Austin Community College (ACC) Highland Campus.

“The Crestview/Highland trail is really about connections and Capital Metro has been working hard to develop a comprehensive regional system, through efforts like Project Connect, to address the needs of a growing region,” said President/CEO Linda S. Watson. “Providing sustainable, safer transportation options like this trail extend the reach of the transit system and encourage healthy habits that will improve the quality of our communities. It also means we can offer more choices for people to get out of traffic and navigate the community in other ways.”

Joined by partners including the City of Austin, who displayed a demo of the forthcoming bike share program, Bike Austin, Bike Texas and CAMPO, the event showcased the best of what collaboration can do to create meaningful, useful solutions for everyone.

Also attending the trail opening were the Texas Rollergirls (who have their season-ending bout on August 10th. If you take Cap Metro to the Austin Convention Center for the finale, you can still receive $5 off at the door), Movability Austin, and Commute Solutions. Additionally, the Mexic-Arte Museum and Creative Action contributed with “art bikes” to help celebrate.


Continue reading “Happy Trails To You…”

2012 Earth Day Is Coming: How Are You Involved?

Earth DayEach year, we get one special day to celebrate Mother Earth and get involved in how we can help take care of our planet and be more eco-friendly.

This year, that special day falls on April 22.

So how will you be involved?

If you still don’t have plans, we’ve got you covered. So, keep reading…

At Capital Metro, being earth-friendly and staying “green” is important to us. And, we take pride in the fact that as a public transportation agency, we help reduce harmful air emissions and carbon-footprints by facilitating people riding together each day–not alone in their cars. Continue reading “2012 Earth Day Is Coming: How Are You Involved?”

Ozone Season: What You Can Do

Clean Air Force

Spring in Texas is in full bloom and although you might want to jump in the car and take some pictures with Bluebonnets on the side of the road, you should know Ozone Season has officially started and will stick around with us until late October.

But, don’t let that get you down because there are things you can do to stay safe and help out the environment during this year’s Ozone season.

Yesterday, Mayor Lee Leffingwell joined the CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas at Austin City Hall to mark the beginning of the Ozone Season and speak with the public about reducing air emissions starting now and continuing throughout the summer.

 “We are urging Central Texans to pay extra attention to ozone alerts and air quality levels this Ozone Season. Basically anything that limits your driving or electricity use will help make a positive difference in the quality of air we are breathing,” said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

Just as Mayor Leffingwell said it, it’s our #1 recommendation this Ozone Season too — limit your driving and help out the environment. By using Capital Metro, one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is to ride public transit instead of taking a personal car. Continue reading “Ozone Season: What You Can Do”

The Transit Sessions

Today marks a new chapter for our friends at Commute Solutions. They unveiled a new (and really good-looking) website today. I highly recommend checking it out, as it’s packed with resources for commuters, including the handy Commute Cost Calculator, which will tell you how much you could save by ditching the car for public transit.

It was good timing for Commute Solutions to debut a new website, as today is also the first day of ozone season. Although it’s a good habit to have all year long, during ozone season (April 1-October 1), it’s especially a good idea to try to reduce your carbon footprint. Riding transit instead of driving alone in your car is the single greatest change you can make to reduce your carbon footprint.

CAMPO and Commute Solutions, with help from Capital Metro and CARTS, are kicking off ozone season with a big ol’ THANK YOU to the everyday environmental hero: YOU, transit rider extraordinaire.

Throughout the month of April, musicians will be playing free micro-concerts at bus stops and transit facilities throughout the region, especially for riders. Transit Session I was this morning at 10th/Congress, and you have another opportunity this afternoon: from 3-4 p.m. at Congress/Riverside. Hope to see you there.

As new Transit Sessions are scheduled, they’ll be listed on the new calendar on Commute Solutions’ website  (and we’ll let you know, too).

Thanks for riding Capital Metro!


ACC Green Pass Success

Austin Community College’s Green Pass program has proven to be a success. Just last month, Green Pass riders made 87,000 trips on Capital Metro buses for a total of 513,510 trips since the beginning of the year.

That success is leading to a continuation of the partnership between Capital Metro and ACC. Yesterday, our board of directors approved a new interlocal agreement with ACC that will allow their students, faculty and staff to continue riding Capital Metro services for free until the end of August 2012. The ACC board of trustees is expected to approve the agreement at their next meeting on Nov. 1. Continue reading “ACC Green Pass Success”

Texas! Bringing Healthy Back

Capital Metro’s healthy cafeteria is featured in a new video campaign from the Texas Department of State Health Services about preventing obesity. Here’s the excerpt that highlights Capital Metro.

Capital Metro was selected for the video because of our award-winning workplace wellness program that is fostering healthy lifestyles among our employees. Fox 7 News aired a story about our wellness program in June.

The Texas! Bringing Healthy Back video is part of a new obesity prevention campaign sponsored by the Texas Department of State Health Services. According to the Texas! Bringing Healthy Back Web site, one in three Texans is obese.

Incidentally, riding public transportation can be a part of a healthy routine, since it generally goes hand in hand with walking and bicycling (and makes you feel good about saving money and the environment).

National Dump the Pump Day is tomorrow

“If you’re serious about being green, you should be riding Capital Metro.” That was our message today at the North Lamar Transit Center, where we set up a display to demonstrate just how significant the benefits are to the environment when you take public transportation instead of driving. It’s the single greatest action you can take to reduce your carbon footprint.

You’d have to use 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper for the next 45-48 years (450,000 – 480,000 sheets of paper!) to make the same positive effect on the environment as riding the bus for a single year.

Bus operator and MetroBlogger Leo Guerrero poses with a Capital Metro hybrid bus and the mountain of paper.

Tomorrow would be a perfect day to make the switch to public transit–it’s National Dump the Pump Day, and you can score some environmentally-friendly goodies, too.

Come to either the North Lamar Transit Center or the South Congress Transit Center tomorrow morning with at least five plastic grocery bags for recycling, and we’ll give you a reusable grocery bag and a 20% off coupon from EcoShoppe. We’ll be there at 6:30 a.m. until the bags run out.


Take a picture of yourself riding Capital Metro and email the photo to dumpthepump@capmetro.org for a chance to win one of 20 i-Ride eco-friendly windbreakers, or the grand-prize, a $200 gift certificate to EcoShoppe. Read the full details and the small print here.

Tweet about your Dump the Pump Day experiences! Use the hashtags #DumpThePump and #CapMetro to be part of both the local and the national movements to ride public transportation to save the planet. Have fun with it!

We have to give some props to IKON Office Solutions and Longhorn Office Products who helped us acquire 480,000 sheets of recycled paper for our demo today, as well as EcoShoppe for partnering with us on the promotion.

Creative Commuters in Leander

Some resourceful Leander commuters have taken matters into their own hands. Several long-time Express route riders who normally catch the 986 and 987 from the Leander Park & Ride have formed their own adhoc carpools instead during the transit strike.

According to Capital Metro outreach volunteers who were stationed at Leander Park & Ride yesterday and today to help riders find other ways to work, the carpools formed on site, made up of individuals who have been sharing an Express bus ride with each other for months.

Leander Mayor and Capital Metro Board Member John Cowman volunteered to do outreach this morning, and was heartened by the resourcefulness of Leander residents to make lemonade out of lemons.

In strike news, today Capital Metro was able to add three more bus routes and increase the frequency of buses from 45 to 30 minutes. The complete list of routes operating can be found on the Capital Metro homepage.

Transit careers a growing part of the Green Collar Economy

I ran across this article today from U.S. News & World Report, touting ten hot green careers. Transit jobs made the list, and we agree with the journalist that transit will be a major component of the new green collar economy. You can be ahead of the curve by joining Capital Metro’s dynamic team. We currently have ten job openings.

10 Hot Green Careers for You
U.S. News & World Report
By Eileen P. Gunn
Posted October 9, 2008

If the next guy who moves into the White House invests $100 billion in a green U.S. economy, he could create nearly 1 million new jobs over the next couple of years, according to a new report from the Political Economy Research Institute in Amherst, Mass.

The dollar figure isn’t much—about the same amount that was spent mailing last April’s rebate checks to American taxpayers. But even if the next president is somewhat laissez faire on environmental issues, the eco-job market is expanding and will continue to, albeit more slowly, with opportunities that will turn both white and blue collars a deep shade of green.

These new green workers will research ways to make biofuels more useful and efficient. They’ll help corporations measure their carbon footprint and then rally employees around programs aimed at shrinking it. And they will lay train and trolley tracks to expand urban transportation systems as more commuters climb on board.

Want more? Here are 10 jobs that recruiters, researchers, and industry observers say are in demand in the growing green economy:

1. Agriculture or forestry supervisors. These people work with the field workers, truck drivers, farm product purchasers, and others who are involved in getting wood chips, switch grass, and other organic matter that is used to make cellulosic biofuels from the field to the factory.

2. Architects. Those with green credentials and know-how are finding work incorporating such energy-efficient details as sun-filtering windows and sustainable materials like cork floors into new corporate and residential buildings and into existing offices and factories that are being retrofitted.

3. Construction managers. These hard-hat supervisors oversee the teams that do the nuts-and-bolts work of building those greener buildings and adding features like solar panels to existing buildings.

4. Consultants. Corporations are trying to quickly set sustainability benchmarks, measure carbon footprints, audit supply chains, set programs in place, and communicate these changes to employees. So they’re doing what they often do when they need to rapidly come up to speed in a new area: outsourcing.

5. Social responsibility officers. These corporate lynchpins bring environmental and business know-how to the job of setting and meeting goals regarding carbon reduction, sustainability, and general eco-friendliness. They have to be able to work with product development, marketing, sales, communications, and internal auditing and compliance people and with outside consultants and senior executives.

6. Database specialists. Those with technical expertise and environment knowledge are setting up and managing systems used to track, analyze, and report information like carbon emissions and energy use.

7. Engineers. Civil, computer software, electrical, environmental, and chemical engineers are needed to expand mass transit systems; design, build, and install wind turbines and solar technologies; and develop both alternative fuels and the systems that will use them.

8. Electricians. These workers are helping to install solar panels, expand transportation systems; and build and retrofit green buildings.

9. Scientific researchers. At universities and corporations, they’re developing new sources and applications for biofuels.

10. Transportation supervisors and dispatchers. Managing train and bus systems and the people who operate them are tasks that are quickly getting bigger and more complicated as commuters increasingly step out of their cars and onto mass transit.