Back to School Safety with CapMetro

With school back in session, it’s a great time to brush up on your knowledge of both rider and traffic safety. Whether you’re traveling using CapMetro, behind the wheel of your car, riding a bike or scooter, or commuting as a pedestrian, the number one key to safety is awareness.

To help you move around Austin safely and effectively, here are some traffic safety guidelines to keep in mind on the go.

Back to School Safety

  • Drive with extra caution near school campuses.
  • Watch out for students walking to & from bus stops.
  • Avoid distractions during your commute.
  • Everyone riding CapMetro is required wear a mask (including kids!).

Safety Tips for Riding CapMetro

  • Always use traffic lights and crosswalks, and obey all warning signals and railroad crossing gates.
  • When boarding and exiting, watch your step and do not cross in front of the vehicle.
  • Please stay back at least three feet from the curb and station platform edge while waiting for the bus or train
  • Standing while riding is permitted except on MetroAccess vehicles. Look for a pole or a strap to hold for safety
  • Sitting or standing in the doorway or the stairwell is never allowed.
  • If you need to remove your bike from the rack at the front of the bus, alert the operator as you exit.
  • Face masks are required while riding and waiting to ride. If you are feeling ill, please wait to ride until you are feeling If you see something, say something. Report suspicious activity using the CapMetro App or this webform. When riding MetroRail, use the intercom to reach the train engineer. Report emergencies or suspicious activity to any bus operator, uniformed personnel or call 911.

MetroRail Rider, Driver and Pedestrian Safety

  • Stand behind the white line on the platform while waiting for the train.
  • Stay clear of the tracks. If you are standing on or near the tracks, you may not see, hear or feel the vibration of an approaching train.
  • Photos on tracks can be deadly. Don’t risk your life for a selfie.
  • MetroRail trains are faster and quieter than freight trains and not required to blow horns in designated quiet zones.
  • Cross tracks only at designated crossings and never cross tracks when the gates are down or lowering.
  • Do not try to beat the train to a crossing when driving. Stop at least 15 feet from rail crossings.
  • Never stop on the tracks.
  • Capital Metro has a zero-tolerance policy for trespassing within the railroad right-of-way.

Traffic Safety for Drivers

  • Stay alert and on the lookout for pedestrians, people riding bikes or scooters, and CapMetro vehicles.
  • Please slow down and obey speed limits, respect traffic signs, and avoid distractions.
  • Stay alert for buses as they stop for passenger boarding.
  • When you approach railroads, be cautious. Stop, look both ways and listen for a train before crossing. Respect flashing red lights, do not drive around the lowered bar and never stop on the tracks.

Bike and Scooter Safety

  • Ride with the flow of traffic, to the right in the same direction as other vehicles.
  • Obey traffic laws; a bicycle is a vehicle and you’re a driver!
  • Stay alert for both vehicles and pedestrians as you ride. Avoid using headphones in both ears as to not block out potentially important sounds like horns, railroad crossing bells, etc.
  • Plan your trip before you begin your ride and come to a stop in a safe location before checking your phone.
  • You know not to drink and drive, but don’t drink and ride either. The same laws apply to cycling while intoxicated, so find a safe ride home that doesn’t involve you behind the wheel or the handlebars.
  • If you’re renting a bike or scooter, be sure to park it in a dock or safe place out of the way for other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Motorized bikes and scooters are not permitted on city trails.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing and especially light colors at night.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Stay alert and pause your music or podcast while traveling through busy areas to ensure you can hear warning signals from nearby drivers.
  • Obey the traffic signs and watch for vehicles.
  • Use crosswalks and do not walk along railroad tracks.

While these following these tips is sure to keep you safe as you travel, you can find even more safety information over on our website. Here’s to a safe school year, in the classroom and on the road!

P.S. Don’t forget that students K-12 ride free, UT students ride free with a valid UT student ID and ACC students ride free with a green pass!

Introducing See Say Now to the CapMetro App

Keeping our community safe is a team effort, which is why CapMetro uses See Say Now to allow you to report suspicious activity during your ride directly from your phone. To make this process as easy and stress-free as possible, you can now report activities that are dangerous to our customers or our staff using your CapMetro App.

To submit a report, choose the “More” icon in the bottom righthand corner, then select “Report Public Safety Issue.”

In addition to the app, you may also submit a report using the See Say Now webform or via the Text-a-Tip feature to send your report to 512-488-4200.

Thank you for helping us keep the CapMetro community safe!

CapMetro Joins Other Transit Agencies to Commit to Safe Return to Service

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is the national trade association for transit agencies. The group coordinates activities among a range of transit providers, offers education opportunities and provides resources on best practices.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, APTA has surveyed transit users asking what they’re looking for from providers. In response, the association has asked transit agencies and users to support a set of four commitments each.

These commitments show riders what we are doing to ensure their safety and it asks them to play their parts, as well.

For Our Agency:                                                         For Our Customers:

Follow policies and practices based on official guidance from public health experts and agencies.Help riders of diverse ages, needs and abilities to feel safe by following official guidance from public health experts and agencies, and transit agency rules.
Keep transit vehicles clean, disinfected and maintained daily using EPA-approved disinfectants and accepted industry practices.Ask riders to wear face coverings, use hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes, and minimize touching common surfaces wherever possible.
Communicate timely information about changes in service, and high-density routes and vehicles.Help riders practice physical distancing with other passengers and operators, and make informed choices based on timely information.
Require transit personnel to use face coverings and PPE, and to take leave at the sign of illness or possible exposure to the coronavirus.Request that passengers assess their own health before using transit and to avoid transit if ill or possibly exposed to the coronavirus.

“From the start, the Capital Metro family, using appropriate guidelines, has been laser focused on ways to protect our employees, service providers, customers and communities from the transmission and spread of COVID-19,” says CapMetro VP of Risk and Safety Gardner Tabon. “Our pledge to this international effort further demonstrates Capital Metro’s commitment to continue to keep transit a safe and practicable option.”

To learn more about CapMetro’s services, see our Return with CARE page.

Be Patient and Stay Safe: Vehicle and Pedestrian Rail Safety 

Did you know that, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration, a person or vehicle is struck by a train at a highway rail grade crossing every four hours? Trains can’t stop quickly. A freight train that is traveling 55 miles per hour can take more than a mile to stop, even if an emergency application of the brakes is applied.

 

In 2019, Texas ranked as the state with the most collisions in the U.S. with a total of 251 highway-rail grade crossing collisions. As a result, 31 people lost their lives and 123 were injured. Never try to beat a train! Follow these tips to stay safe and help us reduce the number of incidents at rail crossings:

  • Stop if you see flashing red lights
  • Only cross at a highway-rail grade crossing
  • Only cross if gate arms are up, lights have stopped flashing and bells have stopped ringing

In 2019, the state of Texas also ranked as the state with the second highest pedestrian rail trespassing casualties with a total of 100, out of which 44 lost their lives and 56 resulted in  injuries. If you are walking near a train, remember:

  • Only cross at a designated public crossing. Crossing at any other place is trespassing, illegal and dangerous
  • Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing
  • Only cross if gate arms are up, lights have stopped flashing and bells have stopped ringing
  • Look both ways before crossing tracks

Don’t become part of the statistics. Follow these tips and help us reduce the number of highway-rail grade crossing collisions and trespassing casualties. Remember, be patient and stay safe!