June Safety Month: Rail Safety

Pedestrians, cyclists and scooter riders: Did you know that walking along railroad tracks is trespassing? It’s illegal, but most importantly it is deadly. Railroad tracks and the nearby right of way are private property with access strictly limited to railroad personnel and those who have been granted permission. It may seem harmless, but more than 1,000 people are either killed or injured each year in the United States while trespassing on railroad tracks, railyards and other railroad property, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Remember, CapMetro trains are faster and quieter than traditional freight trains, and they are not required to sound their horns at grade crossings in quiet zones. If you’re near the tracks, it’s possible you won’t see, hear or feel a train coming. Be safe and only cross at designated pedestrian crossings.

One more thing – please do not take photos or selfies on or near railroad tracks.

Drivers: To avoid striking a train at a grade crossing, we have some simple tips that save lives.

  1. Any time is train time! Keep in mind that trains move quickly and are a lot closer than you think. Remember to stop, look both ways and listen for a train before crossing.
  2. Don’t try to race the train. The train moves extremely fast and it takes more than a mile for a train to come to a full stop.
  3. Flashing red lights indicate a nearby train from either direction. Don’t cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing.
  4. Don’t drive past the lowered gate. It’s illegal and can cause serious accidents.
  5. Never stop on the tracks. Make sure you can cross the tracks safely before driving over them.

June is National Safety Month!

At CapMetro, safety is our core value. The National Safety Council made June National Safety Month to help us keep each other safe – in the workplace or any place. CapMetro wants everyone to be safe while taking transit, driving, walking or riding scooters or bikes.

Data from the National Safety Council shows that Texas roads have become more lethal with a 15 percent increase in deaths from 2020 to 2021 and an even larger 25 percent increase in deaths when you compare it to 2019. As more people return to the roads, it’s even more important to practice safe driving.

Pedestrians: Remember to always use the crosswalk. Crossing the street in the middle of the block (without a pedestrian beacon) is illegal, but most of all it’s dangerous. Crosswalks provide you an extra level of protection because drivers expect to see pedestrians at crosswalks, but the same is certainly not always true mid-block.  Do not use your electronic device while crossing a street.

As you walk or exercise outside, pay attention to your surroundings and traffic. Stay alert and put phones away, make sure you can hear potential warnings from drivers or cyclists.

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.

Driving while using an electronic device is against the law. If you need to check a route or make a call, do so before driving or pull over to use your phone. More than 3,000 people every year die nationwide in crashes that involve a distracted driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

When you approach railroad crossings, be cautious. Stop, look both ways and listen for a train before crossing. Respect flashing red lights, do not drive around the lowered gate and never stop on the tracks. In the case of an emergency at a railroad crossing, call the number on the blue sign located on the signal.

Remember to also stay alert for buses as they stop for passengers.

Cyclists and scooter riders: Wear a helmet and ride with the flow of traffic. Use bike lanes whenever available and respect traffic signs and signals. Avoid any distractions such as using your phone or listening to music and podcasts. Stay alert for pedestrians and never use a scooter or bike when impaired.


Oct. 31 MetroRail Track Flooding in Pictures

Capital Metro would like to thank all of the patient MetroRail riders who planned their commutes around the disruption in service on Oct. 31 due to heavy flooding. It was a doozy, but our incredible rail operations team was able to work throughout the night, inspecting and repairing all of the sections of track affected to ensure they’d be safe to travel the next day.

Check out some pictures below of the impact and check out this video from local TV station, KXAN, who went on-site to check on our repairs. See it for yourself!

McNeil Merrilltown Xing Towards Abbott

rail

Teens, Who and Where Will You Be this Summer?

Shakespeare wrote:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…”

Haul Pass logo

The summer, the Haul Pass, a new fare card for youth 18 and under, gives teens (and kids) unlimited bus and rail rides all summer long, plus discounts at Go Local partner businesses.

Austin is the stage. The Haul Pass is your ticket. What role will you play?

  • The Professional
    • Heads to a summer job, an internship, or volunteer work.
    • Checks the trip planner on the computer the night before work to plan the day. Always arrives 5 to 10 minutes before the scheduled departure.
    • Scans the QR code on the bus stop or texts the cross-streets or Stop ID to Dadnab (512-981-6221) to find out the next departure time
    • Keeps on budget, uses GoLocal discounts for food and well earned entertainment after a hard day at work.
  • The Scholar
  • systemmapcoverThe Explorer
  • The Artist
  • Community Organizer
    • Stays connected. #textingwhileriding
    • Searches newspapers and blogs for calendar listings of guest speakers and author talks and uses the trip planner to figure out how to get from spot to spot.
    • Keeps up with Project Connect (regional partnership exploring high-capacity transit options in Central Texas)
    • Gets friends to carpool to a Park and Ride, then journey together via Capital Metro to Barton Springs, parks and recreation centers, the mall, the movies, etc.
    • Supports local businesses, checking Go Local for businesses near destinations.
    • Convinces a parent into to try riding transit to work for a day, and consider joining a vanpool for commute. Or takes a family outing using the bus or train, like a ride across town for lunch with a grandparent, aunt or uncle.
  • The Athlete
    • An expert on loading a bike onto onboard bikeracks on MetroBus or MetroRailKnows how to do on the spot repairs after having built 2 bikes from scratch for free at Yellow Bike Project.
    • Crosstrains throughout the summer hiking, biking, swimming, boating, jogging and mixing it up with a little frisbee and hula hooping for kicks.
    • Walks to a bus stop or rail station to get that pedometer walking mileage in. 
    • Find lots of businesses on Go Local offering discounts for fitness and wellness, like yoga classes and rock climbing.
    • Explores Town Lake, Zilker Park, Pease Park, the YMCA, Austin Parks and Recreation, and more.
    • Uses the trip planner to figure out the best routes to get to practices, games, and the gym on time.
  • The Environmentalist.

The great thing about being a teen is you can be all these things. No need to permanently decide which route to take. And with unlimited bus and rail trips, you don’t have to.

So where will your Haul Pass take you this summer?

Tweet your adventures #haulpass