Introducing MetroBike, Austin Bike Rental Powered by CapMetro

At CapMetro, we’re committed to getting you where you need to go, and sometimes a bus or train just can’t take you all the way. That’s why we’re so excited to introduce MetroBike! In a brand new partnership with Austin Transportation Department and Bike Share of Austin, Austin BCycle (the Austin bike rental service you already know and love) is transforming to become a new member of our family of transportation services.

Why bike?

Bikes aren’t just an eco-friendly transit alternative, but serve as a great solution for the parts of your trip that fall between bus or train rides. Just visiting? We highly recommend seeing all of Austin’s beauty by bike, from street art to natural destinations like Lady Bird Lake.

How to book MetroBike

To ride MetroBike, you will need to download both the CapMetro App and the BCycle App. The two apps offer different pass options to help you select the best ride frequency for your needs. Keep in mind that regardless of your pass type, all MetroBikes must be returned to a bike station dock after 60 minutes to avoid additional fees. Once you’ve checked your bike in, feel free to check it back out using the app and continue on your adventure!

Learn more about booking a MetroBike here.

More ways to ride

Head to your CapMetro App to purchase one-day or 31-day passes, which can be bundled with CapMetro bus or rail passes to help you navigate each phase of your trip. Use the BCycle App to pay-as-you-ride or purchase a membership for a day, weekend, month or year.

What’s next for MetroBike?

This partnership is just the beginning and we already have system improvements on the way. Not only will we be expanding the fleet and number of stations, but we plan to fully electrify the MetroBike fleet. With new stations, we aim to provide access to communities beyond the downtown core.

Where can I find more info about MetroBike?

Head over to our website for details about riding MetroBike along with more information about the partnership with BCycle, Austin Transportation Department and Bike Share of Austin.

The Best Month on Two Wheels

0137_Brio PhotographyLike a Matryoshka doll designed to get you out of your car and onto two wheels, this month nests a special day inside a special week inside a special month. May is National Bike Month, next week is National Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day is May 19.

Capital Metro is doing its part to help make it all happen. We’re proud of the fact that the League of American Bicyclists has rated Capital Metro as a Gold-Level Bike Friendly Business and are doing our best to improve on that rating.

Continue reading “The Best Month on Two Wheels”

Gear Talk: Connecting with our Cycling Community

bike_loveCapital Metro cares about our cycling community. We recognize there are unique needs when it comes to combining bikes+transit.

We know our cyclist riders need and want safe and simple storage and convenient boarding options on our buses and trains.

Capital Metro wants to support these alternative commuting experiences. That’s why need YOUR input and ideas!

If you are a Capital Metro rider and/or live in the service area, please take a moment to complete this survey and help us continue to improve your travel choices for getting to/from the bus and/or train.

Please join Capital Metro on March 3 as we explore cycling amenities, how to use bike+transit and listen to your feedback on future improvements.

March 3: 5:30-8 p.m.

Cycleast Bike Shop

1619 East Cesar Chavez Street

Visit capmetro.org/bike for more information.

Can’t make it in-person? Check out our webinar!

March 4: 12-1 p.m.

Register now!

Continue reading “Gear Talk: Connecting with our Cycling Community”

Test out the new 3-bike racks on select Capital Metro buses

Capital Metro is testing the feasibility and safety of bus bike racks that hold 3 bikes each. Starting today, ten brand new 35’ buses will be traveling on Routes 338 (Westgate) and 325 (Rundberg) equipped with 3-bike racks.  They are the first of 3 route-pairs that will test the 3-bike racks over the next 6 weeks, from September 10 through October 21.  Capital Metro currently uses 2-bike racks on all its 35’ and 40’ buses and is evaluating the use of the 3-bike racks for future new buses, and perhaps retrofitting part of the system.

Capital Metro Board Member and Austin City Councilman Chris Riley advocated for the pilot to explore options for accommodating more cyclists on board transit. We’ll keep you posted how the test goes.

The 3-bike racks will be used on 2 routes for 2 weeks each to get an idea of their impact for bike transport on the buses. These routes are considered to have the most potential benefit from these racks, and focusing on only 2 routes at a time will allow most if not all buses on that route to be consistently equipped with the 3 bike racks.   After the 6 weeks period, the 3-bike racks will stay in the system on less specified routes.

We will be surveying the drivers and asking for comments from cyclist/users as well to gain input through this period.   Check out the new racks and give us a holler at feedback@capmetro.org.

The three bike racks will be deployed on the following routes during these dates:

September 10 through September 23

Route 338 – Lamar/45th

Route 325 — Ohlen

September 24 through October 7

Route 10 – South 1st/Red River

Route 3 – Burnet/Manchaca

October 8 through October 21

Route 30 – Barton Springs

Route 21/22 — Chicon/Exposition

Statesman Article says MetroBike is a good thing for Austin

Today the new Capital Metro bike shelters, MetroBike, were featured in a very positive Austin American-Statesman editorial “Capital Metro’s rail service welcomes cyclists.”

Here is an excerpt of the article: “The last thing most Capital Metro rail commuters want to see during morning or evening rush hours is a passenger boarding with a bicycle in tow. A single commuter who brings along a bicycle on the MetroRail takes the space of four people. When it’s standing-room only, as most trains are during peak hours, bicycles have had to yield…Bike shelters by themselves won’t address the Austin area’s growing demand for transportation alternatives. But they help expand options, and that is a good thing.

Capital Metro will be holding the MetroBike Grand Opening this Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, at 9:15 a.m. at the Kramer Station. We’ll be offering tours of the MetroBike shelter, guest speakers, and refreshments. Join us! Visit our MetroBike webpage for more details: http://www.capmetro.org/metrobike/.

To read the full Austin American-Statesman article, visit: http://ow.ly/d9CCS

Introducing Our 1st MetroBike Shelter at Kramer Station!

You love your effortless, on-time ride with MetroRail, but we know you have another sweet ride of the two-wheel variety. Now we want to show your bike some love, too, with our new MetroBike Shelter at Kramer Station opening  August 6, 2012.

MetroBike Cards will be available for purchase online only beginning today. Sale of MetroBike Cards will initially be limited to the first 50 customers.  Register and purchase at: www.capmetro.org/metrobike/

At Kramer Station, cyclists getting on/off the train will be able to pick-up/leave their bike at the destination stop in a secure sheltered area to ride to/from the train.  The new service will provide a safe, convenient choice for some cyclists that will reduce crowding on the trains.

Security is enhanced by a fully-enclosed, double wire mesh shelter, allowing for full visibility of its contents, with member-only entry requiring a MetroBike card.  This is combined with the use of your personal lock that secures your bike onto a standard inverted-U rack located inside the shelter. Learn more and purchase.

MetroBike Shelter is at your service when:

  • You don’t feel like standing with your bike on the train.
  • You need more space (one person with a bike takes the space of four people standing).
  • You know it’s going to be too packed to board with your bike.
  • You don’t want to leave your bike out in the rain.
  • You just don’t feel like lugging your two-wheeled baby all the way home.

MetroBike Shelter features include:

  • Secured, limited card key access using a MetroBike Card.
  • Fully enclosed bike parking for up to 24 bikes.
  • 24-hour access, lighting, camera surveillance.
  • Sitting area for changing shoes, etc.
  • Repair rack for minor bike repairs.
  • Double wire, fully enclosed cage with a metal roof.

The MetroBike card is a coded plastic card, available ONLINE ONLY with registration at a discounted, limited-time-only introductory pricing of $30/year.

This is a new service. More MetroBike shelters are planned for 2013-14, and the MetroBike card will provide entry to all shelters as they open.

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”

“Last Mile” Bike Share

Each bike includes a helmet, bike lock, and a waterproof cover.

Capital Metro has been talking with some businesses located near the Red Line about employer-sponsored vanpools from a MetroRail station to the employer’s facility. Several employees with a similar work schedule could ride in on the train, and then share a van for the last leg of the trip to work. Capital Metro set up one of these special vanpools from Plaza Saltillo for our own employees who work at one of the two Capital Metro facilities  on Pleasant Valley.

Today Capital Metro unveiled a new option for our employees to navigate the “last mile” between the train station and work: a bike-share program between our facilities and Plaza Saltillo. Employees who need to head north or go downtown for meetings can check out a bicycle, ride down to Plaza Saltillo and lock it up there to board the train. The bicycles offer more flexibility than the set schedule for the vanpool program, and it also provides another way to encourage physical activity.

The bike share program is a pilot program to see what kind of interest there is, and also to learn what challenges might need to be addressed to make the program successful long-term. A bike share program might be a good model for other businesses who want to encourage alternate commuting, reduce their parking costs, and increase the activity levels of their employees. Continue reading ““Last Mile” Bike Share”

Bikes, Bikes, and more Bikes

We are nearing the end of our first week of MetroRail service. Things have gone fairly smoothly, and rider feedback thus far has been pretty positive. One (somewhat) surprising discovery this week has been the number of bicyclists taking advantage of MetroRail. We’re seeing about 90 bicycle boardings per day.

photo by Michele Hadderman

It is fantastic to see so many cyclists onboard. Unfortunately, some of the trains have been completely overloaded with bikes–like 6 to 8 in one compartment–and staff observations this week related to bike boardings and the bike hooks have been troubling.

Bikes by themselves are not exactly the problem; too many bikes sharing the space with lots and lots of passengers has resulted in a few passengers getting scraped by the bikes, and a lot of difficulty in moving in and out of the railcar. Herzog cautioned that with this number of bikes onboard, if there was an accident or a need to evacuate the car, passengers would not be able to safely get out.

So, eventhough we love our cyclists and we want you to ride with us, we are going to limit the number of bikes onboard to eight total per train (four per compartment). If you arrive at the station and you have bike #9, you will have to wait for the next train.

Fortunately there have been only a couple of instances in which there were more than eight  bikes on the train, so the four-per-compartment limit may be enough capacity for the bulk of the trips.