Serving More Central Texans with an Integrated Transit System

With the tremendous growth happening in Central Texas, the demand for an integrated transit system continues to increase. And yet, like most projects of this scale, there are many challenges to creating a system that works best for riders across the region. As the largest public transportation provider in the region, Capital Metro is taking the lead to address these challenges, but it will take creativity and strong partnerships to meet the needs of our rapidly growing community.

Understanding Our Service AreaService Area Map

“Essentially the Central Texas area we’d like to serve is 4,000 square miles, but the area we can officially serve is just 520 square miles,” says Todd Hemingson, Vice President of Strategic Planning and Development for Capital Metro. “And it’s not necessarily the 520 square miles Central Texas needs it to be.” It’s important to understand that Capital Metro operates within a limited service area including Austin, Jonestown, Lago Vista, Leander, Manor, Point Venture, San Leanna, Volente, and portions of Travis County and Williamson County, including the Anderson Mill area. These member jurisdictions voted to join Capital Metro and to support it with a portion of the sales tax collected in those areas. Continue reading “Serving More Central Texans with an Integrated Transit System”

MetroRapid 803 Service Full-Scale Field Testing July 15

0021-Brio PhotographyCapital Metro’s new MetroRapid Route 803 fleet will hit the streets of Austin in full force on Tuesday, July 15, in preparation for the launch of the second line of MetroRapid service on August 24.

The field test will take place from 4:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will cover the entire 15-mile length of Route 803. The distinctive red and silver vehicles will travel along North Burnet and South Lamar from The Domain to Westgate Mall via UT and downtown. Although the vehicles will stop at all stations (12 shared downtown with Route 801), passengers will not be able to board.

Destinations along the future route? The UT Research Campus (JJ Pickle), The Domain, Central Market North, Seton Medical Center, the museum district, ACC Rio Grande, downtown Austin, the University of Texas main campus, the State Capitol, Barton Springs/Zach Scott Theater, Seaholm and Westgate Mall.

Route 803 will complement the existing service on Route 3, providing more frequent service to the same area, and convenient connections to MetroRapid 801 service and other bus routes downtown. Features of the service include covered and well-lit high-tech stations offering real-time arrival information, and upgraded vehicles with enhanced interiors and free onboard Wi-Fi.

MetroRapid Route 801 North Lamar/South Congress began service Jan. 26, 2014 and operates using 60-foot vehicles.

For more information about MetroRapid service, its amenities, route maps and more, visit capmetro.org/metrorapid.

Summer 2014: Proposed Changes to Service

June2014-Proposed-Service-Change-Web-BannerBy Celso Baez, Community Involvement Specialist

We’ve recently heard some feedback from our riders about our proposal to move MetroBus routes currently operating on Congress Avenue onto the Guadalupe/Lavaca corridor. Most of us have experienced congestion on Congress Avenue, whether on a bus or in a private automobile. Sometimes it’s faster to walk to get through downtown due to all the traffic, especially during a special event.

Why are we considering route changes on Congress?

Congress Avenue has several challenges that hamper safety, bus operations, and the comfort of our customers. Our goals for improving downtown service are based on Service Plan 2020, our long range plan for improving service.

Angled Parking

Angled parking and chronic congestion along the Congress Avenue corridor make it challenging for our vehicles to operate safely. Safety is our number one priority at Capital Metro, and moving most MetroBus routes off of Congress Avenue and onto Guadalupe and Lavaca streets would make service safer for our customers by reducing collisions with private automobiles.

june-atstopFrequent Stops

Many of our customers have experienced the high number of stops on Congress that make it difficult for our vehicles to pass—leading to a wall of buses slowly moving down the street. By moving all remaining routes, except Route 100 MetroAirport Flyer, from Congress Avenue, Colorado and Brazos streets onto the Guadalupe and Lavaca corridor, local service will be able to move through downtown Austin several minutes faster, utilizing the transit priority lanes. In addition, transfers would be made easier while improving connections with MetroRapid and MetroRail.

Ridership

Approximately 13,000 bus passengers travel to downtown Austin on a daily basis. About 80 percent of those passengers transfer to another route. Downtown Austin is the final destination for the remaining 3,200 daily passengers (20 percent), with about half of those coming from commuter or flyer routes. A large number of commuter and flyer route customers walk from Guadalupe Street / Lavaca Street to Congress Avenue. A large number of routes through downtown Austin are “through-routed”, i.e. they do not terminate in downtown but continue from one end of downtown to another. Approximately 3,600 daily passengers travel through downtown on a through-routed bus. Moving most MetroBus routes onto the Guadalupe/Lavaca corridors would make the majority of downtown trips easier for our customers. We realize that for some, walks would be made longer; however Capital Metro has tried mitigating the impact by realigning routes 7, 20, and 17 to better accommodate our riders. With projects like Austin B-cycle, which provides a network of 24 hour/day, on demand bicycle stations to the urban core and the City of Austin’s Great Streets initiative which aims at improving the quality of downtown streets and sidewalks, walks to Congress Avenue from Guadalupe and Lavaca streets and vice versa are much more pleasant.

Special Event Detours

We all know how congested Congress Avenue becomes during a special event. Special event detours significantly disrupt transit service for our customers who rely on our system to get to work, school, and other priority destinations. Operating all local routes on the G/L corridor would reduce special events detours; alleviate congestion on Congress Avenue, thereby making service more efficient. This was evidenced by how successful service operated during SXSW and Formula One, when Capital Metro moved most MetroBus routes on the G/L corridor.

Stop Amenities

Historic and landmark preservation measures on the Congress Avenue corridor prevent Capital Metro from enhancing our existing bus stops. While the sidewalk is wide, there are no additional passenger amenities we are capable of providing. Moving most MetroBus routes onto G/L would allow us to add amenities such as benches and shelters otherwise not possible on Congress Avenue, providing a better customer experience for our riders.

forumHow to Share Your Feedback

Please keep giving us your feedback and commenting on our proposals—we want to hear from you! All riders are encouraged to participate in our public involvement opportunities listed below. Capital Metro will conduct a series of public meetings, and a public hearing. See our service change webpage for schedule details. Become involved, join the conversation and comment on specific proposals in efforts to provide effective services that meet the Austin area’s transportation needs!

View the recent webinar:

Share your comments and send any questions to feedback@capmetro.org.

Upcoming Public Involvement Dates:

Public Meetings

March 4, 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.

Capital Metro Transit Store, 209 W. 9th | Served by all downtown Local bus routes, MetroRapid 801

March 5, 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.

Capital Metro Transit Store, 209 W. 9th | Served by all downtown Local bus routes, MetroRapid 801

March 6, 3:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Capital Metro Transit Store, 209 W. 9th | Served by all downtown Local bus routes, MetroRapid 801

Online Discussion Forum

ideas.capmetro.org

Email

Feedback@capmetro.org

Social Media 

Facebook | Twitter

Public Hearing

March 17, 12:00 noon

Capital Metro Headquarters, 2910 E. 5th St. | Served by Local routes 17, 300

For more information on the proposed summer 2014 changes, including maps of the proposed areas, visit capmetro.org/summer2014. Details can also be found by viewing this video or by calling the GO Line at 512-474-1200.

Regional Transit System: A Thing of the Future?

Capital Metro has partnered with other transit agencies in the central Texas region, like the City of Austin, CAMPO and the Lone Star Rail District to create a plan for regional high-capacity transit.

What would that look like?

Imagine a series of components like urban rail, commuter rail (like MetroRail), Rapid service, and express lanes where all services support one another in a network, easing access throughout the region.

Sounds nice, right? Well, it looks even better. Check out this detailed vision map with all the system elements to help you share our vision for how to create a connected central Texas.

vision_map

(Download PDF version)

Now, you too can view the full details of the Project Connect transportation plan and partnership at ConnectCentralTexas.com.

But, wait there’s more!

Well, now that the vision has come together, the partners want your feedback. What do you think?

It’s your chance to share your thoughts at any of the following opportunities:

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 5 – 8 p.m. Seton Medical Center Hays (Cafeteria), 6001 Kyle Parkway, Kyle, TX.

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Austin Energy (Assembly Room); 721 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX.

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 5 – 8 p.m. Williamson Conference Center, 209 N. IH-35 Frontage Road, Round Rock, TX.

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 12 – 1 p.m. Webinar – Register online at ConnectCentralTexas.com/get-involved.

The Project Connect partners also invite the public to participate in an ongoing online discussion regarding the regional transit vision.

Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications are provided upon request.  Please call 512-369-6201 or email info@ConnectCentralTexas.com for more information.