Facebook Contest: Two Austin Film Fest Badges up for Grabs

You may have heard about our MetroRapid groundbreaking yesterday…maybe you’ve also been one of the early birds to watch our new YouTube video…below:

But, do you know that Capital Metro has two Austin Film Festival badges to give away? It’s true! How can you snag one? Click here Our contest is ongoing until Sept. 30!

We want to see your transit-inspired artwork. It doesn’t have to be fancy or require an extreme amount of work. Think about what transit means to you…Where do you ride to? How many places have you been to on the bus? Where are you looking forward to riding MetroRail? Take a picture, Instagram it, draw something, sketch, doodle, crayon, stamp, collage, etc. Anyway you want.

Once you have your idea and have a creation, take a picture of it and upload to our Facebook contest page. Take this for example:

Here’s an example I of a picture I took on 9/11 of a bus, then added filters. Preface: I have no artistic talent to claim!

It’s that simple. Capture a transit moment and submit it. After we have some entries on our Facebook page, others will be able to vote on each photo. The earlier you submit, the more time you have to wrangle-in those votes!
Start now!

We’ll award the top two entries. Each of our winners gets one Austin Film Fest badge! Each badge is worth over $100 bucks.

Now, go onto our Facebook page and look for the green tab at the top and enter your art baby.

Bus 101: WaBuCy Zilker Outreach

Last week, our Capital Metro folks went to hang out with members of the Zilker neighborhood group called WaBuCy (Walk Bus Cycle) for a Social Bus Outing. The group started at Irie Bean where they met with our community involvement manager, John-Michael, who gave all the in’s-and-out’s of bus transit and some cool CapMetro goodies!

WaBuCy is a neighborhood group dedicated to increasing bike, pedestrian, bus travel and reducing auto traffic in the Zilker area. They are some great folks and we really enjoyed hangin’ out last Saturday.

After they all learned about fares, routes, bus safety and became transit-pros, they tackled the #3 Burnet/Manchaca bus, taking them to the Sustainable Food Center’s Downtown Farmer’s Market!

We had a great turn-out of both experienced and novice transit riding WaBuCy folks and were even featured on the KXAN news!

Photos courtesy of Rene Renteria Photography

To Our Riders: “You’re One in a Million”

In celebration of Capital Metro’s ridership increase over the past year, we will be partnering with Randolph Brooks Credit Union, Black Star Co-op and Midtown Commons in hosting our “You’re One in a Million” rider appreciation party on Aug. 10.

From October 2011 to June 2012, Capital Metro saw ridership increase by over one million trips from the previous time frame a year ago. Bus ridership increased by 3.9 percent, or roughly 898,000 trips and MetroRail ridership grew by over 49 percent, or roughly 133,000 trips. Total ridership is on pace to exceed 33 million passenger trips in 2012, with a projected increase to 34 million in 2013.  The increase in ridership is the direct result of streamlining and improving connectivity of routes throughout Capital Metro’s 522 square-mile service area, and also the dedication of area residents and visitors in choosing public transit.

All transit riders are invited on Friday! To thank passengers for riding, Capital Metro will hold customer celebration events at several MetroRail stations on August 10.

Early morning commuters at the Downtown, Howard, Lakeline and Leander stations will be treated to fresh donuts, hot coffee and “You’re One in a Million” buttons, courtesy of Randolph Brooks Credit Union.

Crestview Station will become party central from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with balloons, banners and a rousing welcome from local band Conjunto Los Pinkys and Friends as each train pulls in. Through a Capital Metro partnership with Black Star Co-op at Midtown Commons, all transit riders who present a valid Capital Metro pass or ticket will also receive $1.50 off any house beer. In addition to the fun atmosphere, various lucky passengers will be selected at random from arriving trains and buses to win 7-Day Capital Metro passes. Crestview Station is located at 6920 North Lamar Boulevard in Austin.

“This event is to show how much we appreciate our riders,” said Capital Metro President and CEO Linda S. Watson. “At Capital Metro we strive to provide dependable, beneficial transit options for the community; we will continue to build on our ridership success into the future as we look at more ways of extending transit throughout the region.”Crestview Station

Crestview Station symbolizes a central hub of transit within Capital Metro’s service area where MetroRail and our busiest bus routes combine; in the future it also will be a location on MetroRapid Lamar route.

Riders are strongly encouraged to ride transit to the event, since there will be no parking available at Midtown Commons. MetroRail riders can get off at the Crestview Station and bus riders can take routes 1L/1M, 101 to the celebration. Use our Trip Planner to get step-by-step directions for using Capital Metro routes.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news. See you there!

Details

Date: Friday, August 10, 2012

Location: Crestview Station, 6920 North Lamar Blvd.

Time: 4:00pm-7:00pm

Take your valid Capital Metro bus/rail ticket to Black Star Co-op on Aug. 10 to get $1.50 off house beer.

A special thanks to our partners:

Happy Fourth of July

If your Independence Day plans include watching the Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks at Auditorium Shores, exercise your right to be car-free and ride Capital Metro to the event.

Routes that serve Auditorium Shores include 1L/1M, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20, 30, 338, and the Night Owls. Most routes operate until around midnight, and the Night Owls run from 12 – 3 a.m. Riding is easy. Plan your trip online. Some routes will be affected by detours.

Save money on gas and parking. A single ride on Capital Metro costs just $1. Or, buy a $2 Day Pass for unlimited trips within 24 hours.

It’s also important to remember we are providing a Saturday level of service on Wednesday, July 4th. Refer to the Saturday schedules to plan your trip. There will be no MetroRail or UT shuttle service.

Administrative offices will be closed; however, customer service is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Ride CapMetro to the 2012 VIVA STREETS! Festival

VIVA STREETS!VIVA STREETS! is coming to Austin on Sunday, May 20,  from 10AM  – 3PM where you can enjoy 2 miles of car-free Austin streets that become your playground to bike, play, walk & roll as you please!

So join us there! We will have some of Capital Metro’s healthiest minds out there, ready to give you some great healthy tips about transit, wellness and how to safety mount your bike onto our buses while staying active in Austin.

It will be a fun Sunday for the whole family to enjoy at this FREE festival. So come out, meet us on 6th Street and spend the day playing in the street at VIVA STREET! as we celebrate Austin together.

Ride Capital Metro there on the #4 Bus Route that runs parallel to 6th Street. Or, you can also plan out your best route through our Capital Metro Trip Planner. See you there!

Arthur Murillo is “best bus operator in North America”

Arthur Murillo is ready to compete
Four-time international champion Arthur Murillo has driven buses for Capital Metro customers for 28 years.

Capital Metro Bus Operator Arthur Murillo has been named the best bus operator in North America. He competed in the 2012 International Bus Roadeo in California this weekend and won 1st Place in the 35-foot bus competition. Congratulations Arthur!

This makes Arthur a four-time winner of the International title, we are very proud to have a representative of Capital Metro accomplish such success.

The Roadeo is a bus operator and mechanic competition held at the local, state and international level every year. Along with Arthur, our mechanic team placed at both the local and state level earlier this year.

The American Public Transportation Association International Competition Bus Roadeo is designed to put bus operators and mechanics in their element as they are judged against their peers in a series of challenges. 

Dottie, Arthur and his trophy
VP of Bus & Paratransit Services Dottie Watkins and Bus Operator Arthur Murillo in Long Beach.

Bus operators must steer their way along an obstacle course  as they are timed and judged for accuracy and safety. In the Mechanic competition, participants are judged on their ability to resolve bus maintenance and diagnostic issues while also being timed and compared on accuracy.

The Capital Metro team received an overall ranking of #7 among the 28 other teams in the competition. Arthur completed his obstacle course in an astounding 7 minutes and 3 seconds, beating out 19 other bus operators from across the country.

Ride MetroRail to Pecan Street Festival May 5

Pecan Street Festival
Why is the festival called Pecan Street Festival?

Did you know 6th Street didn’t always have the same name?

6th Street used to be named Pecan Street! Whoa!

I sure didn’t until know that until I checked out their page. But, now that I have your attention let’s blow your mind some more…

MetroRail STARTING @ 10AM SATURDAY, May 5!

So, as you plan your trip out to this year’s Pecan Street Festival, check out our website for a special MetroRail schedule made just for you, to make your life just a little bit easier!

The festival will take over 6th Street for two days (May 5 & 6)  of food, music and art. Check out the multiple bus stops around the 6th Street area and consider riding the rail there as it conveniently stops along 4th and Trinity.

– Bus stops:

 

So many routes that can take you downtown!

– North/South: 1L/1M, 3, 5, 7, 10, 17, 30, 101, 127, 142

– East/West: 4, 21, 122

 

– MetroRail: On Saturdays, MetroRail runs from Lakeline to Downtown (with six stops in between)

– Starts running at 10 AM on Saturday, May 5

– $2.75 per one-way ticket (buy a round-trip ticket to save time–$5.50)

– After you get off at Downtown Station, you only need to walk two blocks north to find all the Pecan Street Festival action on 6th Street

Pecan Street Festival website says it best:

Local musicians provide entertainment on three stages. The festival is the largest art festival in Central Texas, attracting over 300,000 people per event and generating $43 million in economic impact.  Like Austin itself, Pecan Street Festival attendees are diverse. Festival admission is free, so people from all walks of life flock to the streets. Some come to buy art. Some come for food, others for the music, but they all come to take part in a tradition that is 100% Austin and has been known for the last 33 years as a great way to spend a weekend.

While you’re out on the Rail, Bus or at the Festival, Tweet at us at @CapMetroNews!

Downtown Austin Alliance: PlazaLife event April 27-28

The Downtown Austin Alliance and Thomas Properties Group are hosting a family-friendly, two-day event in the heart of downtown April 27-28.

PlazaLife is meant to inspire the community about what a downtown plaza can be. It’s about nurturing a pedestrian-focused, livable, vibrant downtown.  

Take a mosey over to the Frost Bank Tower Plaza at 4th and Congress on April 27-28 for a two-day celebration of music, games, and tons of events.

The announcement from DAA said it best, “Come and enjoy one of the free scheduled events or stop by the plaza any time to meet up with a friend, eat lunch, view the art and landscape installations, or just relax and watch the world go by on the Main Street of Texas.” 

When/Where is it?

April 27-28, Frost Bank Tower Plaza

401 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701

How do I get there?

– Bus routes: all downtown routes will get you close!

– MetroRail: 3 blocks west of MetroRail Downtown station

– Unsure? Check out the Capital Metro Trip Planner where you can plug-in your exact starting and ending (401 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701) location to find the best route for you.

Day 1: Friday, April 27

8:00 AM: Catch DAA educational event about the growing movement towards re-thinking public spaces.

9:30-11:00 AM: Enjoy the plaza on your own with Rebar Bubbleware furniture public event, free WIFI

Rebar Bubbleware Furniture
Rebar Bubbleware Furniture
(Photo Courtesy Austin Art Alliance website)
11:00-2:00 PM: Live music, Downtown retail showcase, O. Henry story reading

2:00-5:00 PM: Rebar furniture, Free WIFI

5:00-6:30 PM: Music by the White Ghost Shivers

6:30-7:30 PM: Free sneak preview of Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival

 Day 2: Saturday, April 28

9:00 AM: Free yoga classes on the plaza with Wanderlust LIVE

10:00 AM-2:00 PM: Giant chess with the kids, Playground in a Box
 
11:00 AM: Yoga on the Plaza, Chess Meet-up
 
Noon-2:00 PM: Music by The Invincible Czars
 
 
 

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?”

New Tree Seedlings Planted Along North Austin Bus Routes

Tree Planting Day
Sustainable Neighborhoods and Capital Metro partner in efforts of planting more trees at bus stops.
Photo courtesy of Steven Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods

Trees — they help sustain the environment, and if you’re one of our MetroBus riders, you love to see them at the bus stops. They look nice, give you shade and keep you cooler during the summer. And, now we’re one step closer to seeing them at every bus stop thanks to the partnership between Capital Metro and volunteers from Sustainable Neighborhoods.

Earlier this month, over 25 volunteers went out to nine bus stops on Burnet and Anderson to plant two or three Mexican Plum and Texas Redbud tree seedlings at each site on March 11.

The seedlings were planted with a nifty new item called a Groasis Waterboxx, which will help water the seedlings for one year through a self-irrigation process. After a year, the trees should naturalize and not require subsequent watering when the re-useable Waterboxx can then be installed on another seedling.

The partnership is the beginning of a trial project for planting the street trees along Capital Metro bus routes.

“The tree seedlings are tiny – just 4″ liners,” Steven Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods said. “The waterboxxes are about the size of a large tire. They are donut shaped and wrap around the seedling, buffering it and emitting moisture very slowly. The waterboxx’s water bladder absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night, causing water to condensate and refill the bladder.”

Since the planting day, Sustainable Neighborhoods has been checking in on the bus stop seedlings and documenting their progress on their blog: http://www.snaustin.org/brainstorming/waterboxx

“Thanks in part to good rains, the waterboxxes have remained mostly full and the plants wet. Will be interesting to see how they fare over the summer if the rain stops,” according to one blog entry on March 23.

Tree Planting Day
Volunteers plant seedlings into Waterboxx containers.
Courtesy of Steven Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods

Now, there are 20 new Waterboxxes in North Austin and if the trial proves successful, it will signal a new method for planting trees at bus stops in an environmentally friendly mission that’s less expensive and labor-intensive.

“There are about 25 bus stops on Burnet between 2222 and 183, six have shaded shelters, two are at existing shaded locations, and we planted trees at 7 more,” Zettner said. “Assuming our trees make it, that will eventually double the shade quotient … and if this experiment pans out, we’ll be able to hit many other bus stops and sidewalk locations around NC Austin in the coming couple of years.”

The project has already helped to raise awareness and plant seedlings in North Austin that will one day help shade our riders and help the environment. If you stumble upon one of our little trees tell us how they’re doing and shoot us a picture of its progress. We can’t wait to see them full-grown and hope the project can keep expanding to help plant more trees!