New Buses Rolling Out onto Austin’s Streets This Week

New BusHave you seen them? Maybe you’ve even had the chance to experience that “new car smell” as you step on the bus. If you haven’t, chances are you will very soon.

Starting this week, Capital Metro will be adding three to five NEW buses into service each week until October! That’s right. Each week!

We’re excited to see the fancy, new electric-blue buses driving around Austin and we hope you are too. These buses are more comfortable, sleeker, better for the environment, brand-spankin’ new and are replacing older buses that have reached the end of the road.

In total, 54 New Flyer buses were approved by the Capital Metro board of directors in February.  The new buses are part of a Capital Metro strategy to maintain a state of good repair.

“We’re on the move everyday connecting people, jobs and communities. The new buses entering the fleet will allow Capital Metro to provide better reliability and an improved customer experience,” said Linda S. Watson, Capital Metro president/CEO.

The effort is also one step towards rebranding and differentiating services by color: local service will be the snazzy electric-blue, MetroRapid will be silver and MetroRail will continue red.

To further serve our customer’s needs, and improve service for bicycle transit riders, we will also be installing three position bike racks on ten of the new buses as a pilot project to test usability.

The buses use clean diesel which produces fewer emissions and meets 2010 Environmental Protection Agency Standards. Compared to 2009 buses they are 10 times cleaner and, more impressively, 25 times cleaner than buses from 20 years ago, which is great for the environment.

So, if you come upon one of our new buses, let us know! Tweet us @CapMetroNews or write on our Facebook page. We want to know!

Getting around town in 2012: by Train, by Bus, by Bike

We want to encourage more people to use bicycles to connect to MetroBus and MetroRail.  We want to know more about how bicyclists currently connect to transit, and what barriers prevent potential bicyclists from choosing to ‘bike-and-ride’.

Please take the Bicycle ‘First Mile/Last Mile’ Connection survey –available through January 15th!  

Capital Metro has been pleased to see an increase of transit ridership that includes more cyclists. We are looking at first/last mile opportunities to help cyclists and other passengers to connect to/from the trains and at bus transfer areas.  Information we get from this survey will tell us how we can provide better bike access to our services. 

While providing optimum services to all of our passengers, we want accommodate the needs of our passengers that connect by bike.   To do that, we are taking steps to address cyclist demand in a variety of ways:

We do allow for folding bikes on the buses. Standard bikes are not allowed on the interior of our buses due to space and liability reasons.  We have researched practices of other transit agencies throughout the country and have found this to be true of most other transit agencies aboard standard buses.  We are instead working on convenient options that will enhance bike/bus connections.  

We will be adding secure/enclosed bike storage at some of our transit stations and park and rides soon.  The first one will be at Kramer Station this spring.  It will consist of a fully-enclosed parking area for 24 bikes that is accessible by a secured access card to provide a higher level of security and protection for bikes.  For some, it will offer a preferred alternative to transporting bikes on the trains and buses. Six more of them will be installed in 2012-13 throughoutAustin.  We are also working with the city ofAustin’s implementation of their bike-share program. 

Capital Metro continues to improve safety, access, and accessibility to stops and crossings, to add bike parking at key stops, and to implement special projects like the shared use ped/bike trail construction from Highland Mall (Denson Dr.) to Lamar Blvd. to enhance pedestrian and cyclist connections to transit options.  These and other efforts will enable more people to ride their bikes to connect to transit opportunities that can best serve their lifestyle.  Continue reading “Getting around town in 2012: by Train, by Bus, by Bike”