A Cap Remap Explainer: Route 37

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One of the big things we’ve been saying about Cap Remap is that more than half of our routes will change. And, while only two current routes will be eliminated entirely without their service being replaced, many customers will need to learn new routes because their current routes won’t operate after June 3.

For instance, let’s look at the Route 37 Colony Park/Windsor Park.

The 37 is a super important outlet for residents in far East Austin. It travels from Colony Park to Cameron Road and then through Mueller into downtown. It usually travels at about 30-minute frequencies. And many people rely on it to get to work.

Beginning June 3, though, there won’t be a Route 37 anymore. We’re really confident in what’s replacing its service, and we think it will serve you well too. Let’s explore that a bit.

Route 337The new Route 337 will replace the 37’s current routing east of Cameron Road, but instead of turning south toward Mueller and downtown, it turns north. From there, the 337 takes over the current Route 320’s path along St. Johns and provides a one-seat ride to ACC Highland before traveling on 2222 to Balcones Drive, just west of MoPac.

Some questions: Continue reading “A Cap Remap Explainer: Route 37”

Cap Remap is Coming!

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It’s almost here. Really it is.

Back in the fall of 2015, Capital Metro staffers began the process of looking at our long-term service plan and revising our bus network. We came out of that process in February 2017 with the Connections 2025 Transit Plan, meant to guide our service planning for 10 years.

And guide us it has.

In just about two months, we’ll implement the major parts of the Connections 2025 recommendations with our June service change, which we’re calling Cap Remap. And the great thing about the launch is that the first week will feature free rides for everyone.

You’ve probably heard some about what’s coming. At least we hope you have, because we’ve been shouting it from the rooftops for a while now.

More than half of our routes will see some level of change, though only two will be eliminated entirely without their service being replaced (Routes 122 and 970). We’re confident the system will work better. It’ll work better for us as a public agency, because it means we’re using your tax dollars more efficiently and more effectively. And, more importantly, it will work better for you, because it creates a bus network that has more direct routing and is easier to understand.

It will also mean our buses will come much more often. We have four Local routes that operate as part of our High-Frequency Network now. In two months, we’ll triple that number. Continue reading “Cap Remap is Coming!”

New Rail Schedule Rolls Out March 19

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Capital Metro will put in place a new MetroRail schedule next week for evaluation. We’ll operate on this new schedule beginning the week of March 19 and evaluate how the service performs. The new schedule was developed in response to recent service disruptions on the MetroRail Red Line.

 

Please refer to these schedules, beginning March 19:

The agency is currently working on two major construction projects along the 32-mile rail line. These projects are an investment in the future of MetroRail, and will pay off with doubled frequency and capacity. Capital Metro is building additional passing points along the MetroRail route that will enable the service — once the new Downtown Station is completed — to double its frequency and capacity. The other project is implementing a federally mandated positive train control system, which will ensure the long-term safety and security of the service.

The projects will continue throughout 2018, and some service disruptions can be expected for the remainder of the year. During the week of March 19, though, we will evaluate the new schedule, which should minimize service disruptions. To ensure the transition will be seamless, routes for rail connector buses have been adjusted as well.

So, About those MetroRail Delays …

flowersMetroRail riders — and probably anyone within regular earshot of MetroRail riders — have noticed that the service has had difficulty as of late keeping to its schedule. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and for the disruption to your plans. But let us try to explain what’s happening, what’s causing the delays and what we’re trying to do to remedy the situation.

First, the delays themselves.

Since January, MetroRail trains have experienced delays of anywhere between 5 and 45 minutes. It hasn’t happened every day, but often enough. And, once it starts happening, it’s difficult to get back on schedule, and so brief delays in the morning rush hour can turn into lengthier delays by the evening. The best thing to do is to use the Next Departure feature on the CapMetro App and on our website to determine when your train’s gonna be there.

But what’s causing all this, you’re asking yourself.

Well, here’s the deal … it’s not just one issue, unfortunately. The delays stem from two separate projects that are under construction at the same time. We’re building additional passing points along the MetroRail route that will enable us — once our Downtown Station is completed — to double the frequency and capacity of the service. We are also implementing a federally mandated positive train control system, which will ensure the long-term safety and security of the service.

Continue reading “So, About those MetroRail Delays …”

Girl Day at UT — All Aboard!

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Here at Cap Metro we love an engineer. They design and build our transit infrastructure, program our software and plan our routes. They also drive our trains … although that may be a different kind of engineering, now that you mention it. The point is, we think engineers are great, and we need more of ’em.

That’s why we’re thrilled that UT Austin is once again hosting Girl Day on February 24. The event will bring together more than 8,000 elementary and middle school students on the UT campus to celebrate International Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, which is called just Girl Day (or even #GirlDay2018 if you’re so inclined).

The students will be able to do a ton of hands-on stuff that’ll get them familiar with what engineers do and how they make the world work. The kids will work with more than 1,300 UT students, faculty members and professional engineers from around Central Texas. They’ll also have loads of fun!

(And, just to be clear, boys are welcome, too.)

The festival takes place on campus from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24. All are welcome. That is, if you can get down there. You know, with the traffic and the search for parking spots, and the paying for parking spots and the headaches. That’s where Cap Metro comes in.

We’re providing free Park & Ride services from 5 Austin Public Library locations for the event, giving you the chance to avoid the hassle and cost that come with trying to get to and park on campus. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can park at any of the 5 library locations listed below, go inside to request your free Local Day Pass and then hop on the bus. Cap Metro staff will be there on campus to help guide you to the activities.

There’s another great thing happening with these Transit Adventures. One of our partnerships helps Girl Scouts earn transit merit badge, and Girl Day is a perfect chance to work toward that.

YOU MUST REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE RIDE AT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:

  1. Little Walnut Creek Branch | 835 West Rundberg Lane | Routes 1, 801
  2. Pleasant Hill Branch | 211 East William Cannon Drive | Routes 1, 801
  3. Recycled Reads Bookstore | 5335 Burnet Road | Routes 3, 803 ( Noon to 4 p.m. only)
  4. Ruiz Branch | 1600 Grove Boulevard | Route 20
  5. University Hills Branch | 4721 Loyola Lane | Route 20

To plan your trip to Girl Day (or anywhere else), visit capmetro.org/planner.

Taking the ‘Drag’ out of The Drag

GuadalupeEarlier this week, the Austin Transportation Department released a Preliminary Engineering Report for Guadalupe St. near the University of Texas campus. Commonly known as “The Drag”, this section of roadway sees some of the highest levels of transit ridership in the entire Capital Metro system.

However, riders all too often find that riding through that part of town really is a drag. Why? Because even though more than half of the people traveling north and south on Guadalupe on any given weekday morning or afternoon are in our buses, they’re usually still stuck in heavy traffic. In other words, a bus that can carry more than 40 people is given the exact same level of priority as a car with just one.

And that’s why we’re so excited about the proposed improvements to The Drag, and particularly the addition of transit priority lanes: They improve travel for the maximum number of people, regardless of how they travel. Continue reading “Taking the ‘Drag’ out of The Drag”

You’ve Asked … Here Are Our Answers

RevisionsYou’ve probably heard about the big changes we’re planning to put in place next June.

In fact, we know that you know about them because we’ve heard from a lot of you. And the great thing about receiving all that feedback is that it gives us a chance to make our proposal better.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common suggestions we’ve heard and our responses:

It’d really be great if Route 5 still served the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center in the state complex near Lamar and 51st, can you make that happen?

Yes, we can, as a matter of fact. We had proposed to run Route 5 down Burnet and then Medical Parkway before turning to Lamar on 38th Street. Riders wanted to be able to access the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center, and since we have other routes on Medical Parkway, we’ve agreed to change our proposal.

Speaking of Route 5, can you please keep it on Speedway? We’re used to that and like it the way it is.

That one, we can’t recommend. Not only does UT Shuttle Route 656 run on Speedway already, but frequent service would be available within a 5-minute walk on Duval (Route 7) and a 6-minute walk on Guadalupe (MetroRapid 801). The goal of these changes is to create a simple, efficient system that avoids route duplication. We also want to operate buses on major corridors for the most part, rather than neighborhood streets.

Farther north, you guys really need to keep service to the business park east of the Norwood Walmart, where the main post office is. Why are you trying to eliminate that route?

We’ve heard this one a lot, to be honest. That portion of the current Route 323 doesn’t have a whole lot of ridership, and that’s why we proposed to remove service. But enough of you have spoken out in favor of keeping service there that we are proposing to create the new Route 339 Tuscany. It would operate every 60 minutes starting from the Walmart, traveling through the Tuscany Business Park, past the H-E-B at Loyola and Springdale, before ending near the intersection of Tannehill and Webberville in East Austin.

None of these revisions we’re proposing can cause the plan to go over budget, however. And that means we would have to balance the costs of this new service by removing the proposed extension of Route 323 to Far West. Instead, the new proposal would end that route at Northcross Shopping Center, and Far West would be served by Route 19. Continue reading “You’ve Asked … Here Are Our Answers”