Project Connect: Virtual Meetings

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Project Connect, Capital Metro’s long-term transit plan, remains essential to our ability to serve our community and support the region’s growth in as sustainable a way as possible.

Austin is creative and resilient and will still be among the best places to live, even after we’re able to move through the current public health crisis. In fact, Austin is expected to be one of the few cities nationwide able to withstand the impact and bounce back strong.

Long story short, we’ll still have the same issues and opportunities presented by our growth, and Austin will still be a magnet for newcomers. We need to be ready not just for after the pandemic recedes, but for what Austin will look like in 2040.

Throughout this month, we’re offering several chances for you to learn about Project Connect and to ask questions of CapMetro staff and Austin City Council members.

Virtual Open House

A self-guided online experience that walks visitors through Project Connect’s details and provides an opportunity to give feedback, this virtual open house will be open to the public through May 31. Take a look at the full plan, including updates that have been made since we last presented to our board and city council.

Virtual Community Meetings

Also through May 31, Capital Metro will host a series of one-hour virtual community meetings. These will include an update on our COVID-19 response, followed by a presentation on Project Connect, then a moderated roundtable and public discussions with Austin City Council members and Capital Metro’s board and staff.

Check out our Get Involved calendar to find out how to sit in on the meetings with Zoom or Facebook.

Cap-Tivities with Armie Dillo!

CaptivitiesHow’s everyone doing out there? Hanging in there, we hope. Y’all are doing great, and we need you to keep it up.

But, while so many of us are spending all this extra time at home, we thought we’d put together a fun activity book for your kids … and maybe for you, if you like to have fun.

Inside “Cap-Tivities!” you’ll find coloring pages, word searches, mazes and a whole bunch more. You’ll get to:

  • Help your new best friend, Armie Dillo, find his way downtown
  • Do a Wordoku puzzle or a crossword
  • Make a paper train conductor’s hat
  • Color in a zen doodle and then make your own
  • Create a paper doll bus in a desert, topped off by a pith helmet? Absolutely! Why not?

It’s gonna be great, we promise.

We just want y’all to know that CapMetro appreciates you and what you’re doing by staying home, teaching your kids and supporting our community. We hope this Cap-Tivities book helps you and the kids fill some time and have some fun.

Be sure to let us know what you think, and we’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to see some of the finished products. So, tag us in your posts showing off your work!

Cap-Tivities book download

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Doing our Part During the Pandemic

COVID ResponseIn response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CapMetro has worked around the clock to promote public health and help the Austin community. In the past two months we’ve implemented several measures to ensure the safety of our staff and customers while riding our vehicles, and we provided support for vulnerable community members in need.

To go the extra mile for safety we: 

  • Hired 50 part-time cleaners to clean and sanitize buses throughout the day.
  • Implemented temperature scans at the entrances to our buildings.
  • Provided face coverings for customers in need of one.
  • Adjusted our service schedule.
  • Enforced rear-door boarding to minimize contact between operators and customers.
  • Encouraged social distancing with “skip-a-seat” signs on our vehicles and sidewalk decals at bus stops and transit facilities.

Meal Deliveries 

We partnered with H-E-B, Good Apple and Farmshare Austin to provide 170,000+ meals to vulnerable members of the Austin community.

Staff Safety and Benefits 

To keep our operating staff safe we provided them with gloves, masks and hand sanitizer and we implemented a three-week supplemental leave in addition to paid time off. This applies to staff members who get sick themselves or for those who have family members who need to be taken care of.

Providing Essential Service

  • CapMetro provided 1.3 million necessary trips to grocery stores and medical centers for people traveling to work an essential job.
  • We served critical trips for MetroAccess customers.
  • Provided service to homeless individuals.

We are so grateful for all of our frontline workers and staff who worked vigorously to serve our community and keep our services safe! We will continue putting the safety of our staff and customers first as we move ahead.

 

Face Coverings: Tutorial and Tips

Even with the governor’s recent announcements, CapMetro is requiring our customers to wear a face covering on our vehicles. Following safety recommendations will help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As Austin Public Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found earlier, covering our nose and mouth when we are outside our homes is important because an infected person can transmit COVID-19 to others without showing any symptoms.

Here is a simple tutorial to make a face covering using only a bandana and two rubber bands/hair ties.

According to health authorities, your cloth face covering should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and dried without damage or change to shape

Remember that medical grade (N95) and surgical masks should be only used by medical professionals and first responders. Let’s follow all safety recommendations and stop the spread! For more information concerning COVID-19 service updates, please visit capmetro.org/COVID19.

 

Stay Well & Ride Safe

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CapMetro responded quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic and has implemented several measures to protect our staff and support the goal of maintaining public health. As the state begins to relax our stay-at-home restrictions, your actions are vital to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and maintain public safety on CapMetro vehicles. We’re asking customers to continue to act responsibly to protect themselves, their families and the community at large.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we need your help:

  • Wear a face covering: This is required for all customers riding CapMetro vehicles.
  • Maintain safe social distancing when waiting at a transit facility and boarding a vehicle.
  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
  • Continue rear-door boarding.
  • Maintain safe social distancing when possible while riding CapMetro.
  • Stay home if you can.
  • If you feel sick, please stay home and do not use CapMetro services.

CapMetro strongly recommends you take these extra safety precautions to protect your health and the wellbeing of others. We’ll get through this, but we have to work together and do what we can to help others.

If you choose to ride CapMetro vehicles, please make sure you are considering what is best for the safety of you, your family and your community. Let’s practice these safety measures so we can all return to a more normal life soon.

 

Stop the Spread: How You Can Help our Community

We continue to implement measures to protect our operators and customers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – but we need your help. When using CapMetro to access essential needs or to get to an essential job, follow Austin Public Health’s orders:

  • Wear a face covering. This measure helps prevents asymptomatic carriers from spreading the virus. Cloth face coverings should include multiple layers of fabric and should be washed after every use. Face coverings are required on all CapMetro vehicles.
  • Even if you are wearing a face covering, keep your distance. Continue to maintain 6 feet from other people when outside your home.
  • If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, even mild ones, do not leave your home for anything other than receiving medical care.
  • Keep washing your hands frequently.

At CapMetro we have implemented additional measures to protect you and our operators. Fares are free right now, sanitizing and cleaning procedures have been enhanced, we have placed special signage that encourages social distancing and we have added a chain near the front of the vehicles to provide a barrier between our drivers and customers. In addition, our operators are being provided with face coverings, hand sanitizer and gloves.

Let’s follow all safety guidelines and stop the spread! For more information concerning COVID-19 service updates, please visit capmetro.org/COVID19.

Keeping our community safe during COVID-19

As our community responds to COVID-19, Capital Metro is taking necessary precautions to promote public health, social distancing, and stay at home policies ordered by governmental and medical authorities. During this challenging time, we have adjusted our schedule and enhanced bus cleanings to provide safe customer access to essential needs such as grocery stores, pharmacies and work.

We ask you to take these safety precautions to help us prevent the spread of illness:

  • Only use public transportation for essential connections to groceries/pharmacies, health care and essential work
  • If you think you might be getting sick, stay home and contact your healthcare provider; if you’re uninsured and are experience symptoms of coronavirus, call CommUnityCare at 512-978-8775. CommUnityCare will talk to you over the phone and send you to the appropriate location.
  • Use rear door boarding only, unless you wish to use the ramp for access by wheelchairs and other mobility devices; all fares have been suspended for the month of April
  • Skip a seat between you and other riders; it is advised to keep a distance of 6 feet between you and those around you
  • Always cover your mouth with the crook of your arm when you sneeze or cough in public; do not sneeze or cough into your hands

Let’s stay safe, calm and smart together! For more information concerning COVID-19 service updates, please visit capmetro.org/COVID19.

 

CapMetro & the Shelter-in-Place Order

Shelter-in-Place

Even with today’s shelter in place emergency order from local authorities, CapMetro’s service remains an essential business and will continue to provide critical service for essential needs.

Adjusted Service Schedule

Designed to serve our community’s larger needs. We served 40%-60% fewer riders, which means people are doing what they need to: staying home.

“Skip a Seat” Signs

  • Give other customers some space while on the bus or train.
  • Board through the rear door to protect operators and other riders.
  • Those using wheelchairs and other mobility devices are allowed to still use the front door.
  • Please respect the fare system.

Enhanced Cleaning Procedures

Hired 50 part-time cleaners to help clean and sanitize the buses throughout the day. Some admin sta­ff will assist.

Safely Equipped Operators

CapMetro operators have hand sanitizer and gloves. We’re following Austin Public Health and the CDC on masks, but operators may wear them if they choose.

Supplemental Leave Policy

Ensures sta­ff members can take care of themselves and their loved ones and not worry about their employment status.

If you are sick, we ask you not to travel. If your travel isn’t essential, we ask that you follow the order and not ride Capital Metro.

CapMetro & COVID-19

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In response to the rapidly evolving situation involving COVID19, Capital Metro continues to implement measures designed to protect our staff, promote public health and ensure that we continue to provide service to all parts of our community.

These measures have included:

  • All bus operators are provided with a bottle of hand sanitizer and latex gloves. The agency is following guidance from Austin Public Health and the CDC with respect to masks. While operators are not being issued masks to wear while driving, they may do so if they choose.
  • We enhanced our cleaning operations more than two weeks ago, which included the daily sanitizing of all hand touch surfaces. We will soon increase those cleaning procedures even further, with disinfecting of vehicles taking place throughout the day. To help us achieve this, we’ve hired 50 part-time cleaners. No experience is needed, and training will be provided. Work will start as early as tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24.
  • Customers must board their bus through the rear door to protect the health and safety of our bus operators and customers. During this emergency situation, we trust that our customers will continue to respect the agency’s fare system.
  • We have placed “skip a seat” signs on all CapMetro vehicles to encourage customers to leave some space between each other and practice social distancing.
  • We have developed a new policy that would provide up to three weeks of supplemental sick leave for employees of CapMetro and our contractors. This would apply if the employee or a member of their household is affected by COVID-19.
  • We’re also starting a new CapMetro Family Care team, whose sole purpose is to be an additional resource to answer questions, provide comfort and find solutions for those who are impacted by this crisis.

CapMetro Implements Temporary Service Changes

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In response to the COVID-19 emergency, CapMetro services will operate a modified schedule, seven days a week beginning Wednesday, March 18.

Service Impacts

Capital Metro will implement changes to its service designed to protect employees, promote public health and ensure that we continue to provide service to all parts of our community.

Capital Metro services, including MetroBus, MetroRapid, MetroExpress and MetroRail will operate on a modified schedule.

You can read about those service changes at CapMetro.org/COVID19.

Customer/Employee Care & Safety

To further ensure customer and bus operator health and safety, we ask that customers board their bus through the rear door. We also ask that they respect the agency’s fare system during this emergency situation.

Capital Metro designed these new measures to improve social distancing for our employees and customers, while still providing necessary transit to critical services.

Prevention and Awareness

We are following guidance from Austin Public Health and continue to monitor the situation.

In addition to our daily cleaning procedures for all CapMetro vehicles and transit facilities, we are applying a disinfectant to common hand contact areas, such as poles and handrails, armrests, door handles and stop request buttons.

Later this week, we will install special signs encouraging social distancing on our vehicles.

Along with these efforts, we need your help:

  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Maintain good hygiene.
  • Limit your non-essential travel as much as possible, especially to locations with many people.
  • Limiting your contact with others is the best way to stay healthy.

If you think you might be getting sick, please stay home and contact your healthcare provider.

Visit Austin Public Health’s information page for up-to-date, detailed information: austintexas.gov/COVID19.