Local poets to be featured on entire Capital Metro fleet

Prepare to be inspired! By the end of October, your bus will feature poetry onboard, thanks to a partnership with Austin Poetry Society.

The winning poets pose with their poems/bus placards in front of what has been deemed “the poetry bus.”

On Sept. 29, we kicked off the next phase of a partnership with the Austin Poetry Society that is bringing poems by local poets onboard our entire fleet of buses, including UT Shuttle buses.

APS announced the winners of a poetry contest that was advertised on 150 Capital Metro buses earlier this summer. About 100 people came to hear the winning poets read their poems and install the first of the bus placards onboard a Capital Metro bus parked at the event.

Bus number 2371 was parked at the event, and we’ve deemed it “the Poetry Bus” as it will feature the poems of ALL the winning poets.

Twelve different poems are being produced into bus placards, all designed by local artist and poet Christine Gilbert. We hope the poems will delight you and add some joy to your daily ride on Capital Metro.

The contest garnered more than 300 entries, many of which were penned by bus riders. Per the partnership agreement, APS produced the interior bus signs, and Capital Metro donated the space inside the buses.

APS is planning to produce a second batch of signs featuring another 12 poems next spring.

Here is one of the placards you may see on your bus beginning this month, enjoy!

 

 

Austin Poets to be Featured on Entire Capital Metro Bus Fleet next month

On Saturday, Sept. 29, (10 a.m. – 12 noon) the Austin Poetry Society will announce the Poetry with Wheels contest winning poems at Nature’s Treasures, 4103 North IH-35. The winning poems, like this one below will be posted onboard Capital Metro’s entire fleet of buses in October.

– 70 poets entered
– 314 poems submitted
– 20 poems selected (both English and Spanish) for display on buses 

The first five completed poetry signs for installation on Capital Metro buses will be unveiled. The event is hosted in conjunction with the Austin International Poetry Festival, a four-day event taking place Sept. 27-30, at venues throughout Austin that attracts hundreds of poets from all over the world. The event is free and open to the public.

Capital Metro partnered with the Austin Poetry Society (APS) to bring poetry onboard its buses. 

“The partnership with Austin Poetry Society will provide a lasting benefit for our riders, who can be delighted every time they board one of our buses with thoughtful, artistic poetry,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda S. Watson. “Capital Metro supports the arts and has been exploring avenues of incorporating more art on our fleet and at our facilities.” 

Riders should begin to enjoy the poems onboard buses beginning in October, when the first batch of 420 signs will be installed across the bus fleet. The signs will feature 10 winning poems submitted in the contest and an additional two poems penned by Austin elementary students in a separate APS partnership with Badgerdog Literary Publications. The Austin Poetry Society anticipates producing a second batch of signs featuring another 12 poems next spring.

Facebook Contest: Two Austin Film Fest Badges up for Grabs

You may have heard about our MetroRapid groundbreaking yesterday…maybe you’ve also been one of the early birds to watch our new YouTube video…below:

But, do you know that Capital Metro has two Austin Film Festival badges to give away? It’s true! How can you snag one? Click here Our contest is ongoing until Sept. 30!

We want to see your transit-inspired artwork. It doesn’t have to be fancy or require an extreme amount of work. Think about what transit means to you…Where do you ride to? How many places have you been to on the bus? Where are you looking forward to riding MetroRail? Take a picture, Instagram it, draw something, sketch, doodle, crayon, stamp, collage, etc. Anyway you want.

Once you have your idea and have a creation, take a picture of it and upload to our Facebook contest page. Take this for example:

Here’s an example I of a picture I took on 9/11 of a bus, then added filters. Preface: I have no artistic talent to claim!

It’s that simple. Capture a transit moment and submit it. After we have some entries on our Facebook page, others will be able to vote on each photo. The earlier you submit, the more time you have to wrangle-in those votes!
Start now!

We’ll award the top two entries. Each of our winners gets one Austin Film Fest badge! Each badge is worth over $100 bucks.

Now, go onto our Facebook page and look for the green tab at the top and enter your art baby.

Increased frequency to Night Owls to debut Sunday with August 2012 Service Changes

Three times a year, Capital Metro looks at what can be done to better our overall transit system. Starting Sunday, Aug. 19, Capital Metro will introduce changes to service, designed to create more efficient routes and improve overall system service. Capital Metro constantly analyzes routes and evaluates customer feedback. Three times a year, Capital Metro makes these needed changes that are in accordance with Capital Metro’s Service Guidelines and Standards to create a better system.

Service changes will include:

Route Realignments  Capital Metro will realign two services:

o        30 Barton Creek  Will no longer service the Barton Hills/Hollow Creek neighborhood due to low ridership. Frequency in the Spyglass neighborhood will be improved from 70 to 35 minutes.

o        323 Anderson  Will be realigned from Ed Bluestein to Springdale and Tuscany to improve coverage.

Night Owl Routes  Several routes will be realigned to improve directness and reduce travel time. Frequency will be improved on routes 483, 484, 485 and 486. Night Owl service will no longer be available along south Manchaca, west William Cannon, South 1st, Braker, Springdale, 7th and Cesar Chavez due to low ridership.

o        481 Night Owl North  Will be renamed 481 Night Owl North Lamar.

o        482 Night Owl East  Will be consolidated with Route 485 Night Owl Cameron. (Refer to new Route 485 for more details)

o        483 Night Owl Southeast  Will be realigned to Riverside, Burton, Oltorf and Wickersham. Frequency will be improved from 60 to 30 minutes. Route will be renamed 483 Night Owl Riverside.

o        484 Night Owl S. Lamar/S. 1st  Will be realigned to serve only the South Lamar area. Frequency will be improved from 60 to 30 minutes. Route will be renamed 484 Night Owl South Lamar.

o        485 Night Owl Cameron  Will be realigned to Rosewood, Airport, Mueller, 51st, Cameron and Rutherford (Wal-Mart). Frequency will be improved from 60 to 30 minutes.

o        486 Night Owl Dove Springs  Will be realigned to South Congress, Stassney, PleasantValley and William Cannon. Frequency will be improved from 60 to 30 minutes. Route will be renamed 486 Night Owl South Congress.

UT Shuttles  Route and schedule adjustments will be made to the following University of Texas Shuttles:

o        641 EC East Campus  Midday frequency will be reduced from 7 to 10 minutes during fall and spring semesters.

o        652 PRC Pickle Research Campus  Frequency will be reduced from 35 to 60 minutes during fall and spring semesters. Route will be realigned within the Pickle Research campus.

o        675 WL Wickersham Lane– Midday frequency will be reduced from 15 to 20 minutes during fall, spring and finals.

Minor schedule adjustments will be made to the following routes to improve reliability:

o        4 Montopolis

o        7 Duval/Dove Springs

o        19 Bull Creek

o        30 Barton Creek

o        101 N. Lamar/S. Congress

o        151 Allandale

o        243 Wells Branch

o        323 Anderson

o        338 Lamar/45th

o        383 Research

o        466 Kramer

Select school-related trips will be reinstated or added to the following routes:

o        4 Montopolis

o        5 Woodrow/South Fifth

o        7 Duval/Dove Springs

o        300 Govalle

o        325 Ohlen

o        331 Oltorf

o        333 William Cannon

o        E-Bus routes, 410, 411 and 412

All of the changes, in addition to route schedules and maps, can be found in the Destinations schedule book, available for $3 at the Capital Metro Transit Store. The Transit Store is located at 323 Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. The guide is also downloadable at no cost on the Capital Metro website.

Details on the service change process can also be found on the Capital Metro website or by viewing this video.

August 2012 Service Change details also available in Spanish. (En Español)

Employee Spotlight: All About Randy

You see our bus drivers as the ones who take you from home to work or even downtown on a Friday night. But, our operators have so much more going on. We want to show you how great they are outside of work too!

So, meet Mr. Randy Rohr. Bus operator by day, fitness enthusiast and filmmaker by night. A renaissance man really, he’s been at Capital Metro for 26 years.

In March, the Austin Business Journal named Capital Metro as Central Texas’ healthiest employer. Randy is a prime example of our dedication to wellness. He was Capital Metro’s June Wellness Champion of the Month.

“My life is always full of changes and events. It is life. There isn’t one thing that happened to me, it was a bunch of little things: car accident, friends getting older, losing aunt and uncle, noticing that I need to get back into a healthier lifestyle. It was a gradual change back to the journey of healthy.”

Randy lives by the motto that you only have one life to live and you should live it fully. You see that passion for life when you look at the other things he’s accomplished. He has also produced a film, “Earth Day Every Day” earlier this year.

(Earth Day Every Day 2012 on Vimeo)

He was even been featured in the Westlake Picayune after his film was entered into a local film contest.

“Rohr’s film made it through several rounds of competition online and at screenings in Austin. It was one of two films chosen from among 78 entries from Austin. “Earth Day, Every Day” went up against 15 other films chosen from among hundreds from around the country. He credits his fans with getting him through the competition.”

Friends and even strangers have a lot to say about Randy, they left their thoughts on the Westlake Picayune article comment section:

  1. Kristin Rohr Bruce says:
    I’m very proud to say, “This is my brother!”. He’s inspired me in so many ways over the years. He loves life and lives it with no regrets, always eager and willing to help his loved ones and any stranger that he may meet.
  2. Rita Gonsalez Bush says:
    I have worked with Randy for over 20 years, and he is the same kind caring person as the day we met. He sees the good in people and always willing to lend a hand. He always spreads joy with his contagious laughter.
  3. William McLeod says:
    Like Rita, I have known Randy for close to 25 years. He is a very pleasant and agrreable young man. He doesn’t just treat the planet nice, he treats people that way too. Kudos to you Mr. Rohr.
  4. Will Goodin says:
    Unlike Rita and Kristin (above) I’ve never met Randy, but I think he’s pretty cool. This article reminded me to always keep in mind that every food server, bus driver, store clerk and switchboard operator I interact with is also person with a a whole other life and should be treated with respect.

We say: Randy is a rock star.

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!

New Tree Seedlings Planted Along North Austin Bus Routes

Tree Planting Day
Sustainable Neighborhoods and Capital Metro partner in efforts of planting more trees at bus stops.
Photo courtesy of Steven Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods

Trees — they help sustain the environment, and if you’re one of our MetroBus riders, you love to see them at the bus stops. They look nice, give you shade and keep you cooler during the summer. And, now we’re one step closer to seeing them at every bus stop thanks to the partnership between Capital Metro and volunteers from Sustainable Neighborhoods.

Earlier this month, over 25 volunteers went out to nine bus stops on Burnet and Anderson to plant two or three Mexican Plum and Texas Redbud tree seedlings at each site on March 11.

The seedlings were planted with a nifty new item called a Groasis Waterboxx, which will help water the seedlings for one year through a self-irrigation process. After a year, the trees should naturalize and not require subsequent watering when the re-useable Waterboxx can then be installed on another seedling.

The partnership is the beginning of a trial project for planting the street trees along Capital Metro bus routes.

“The tree seedlings are tiny – just 4″ liners,” Steven Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods said. “The waterboxxes are about the size of a large tire. They are donut shaped and wrap around the seedling, buffering it and emitting moisture very slowly. The waterboxx’s water bladder absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night, causing water to condensate and refill the bladder.”

Since the planting day, Sustainable Neighborhoods has been checking in on the bus stop seedlings and documenting their progress on their blog: http://www.snaustin.org/brainstorming/waterboxx

“Thanks in part to good rains, the waterboxxes have remained mostly full and the plants wet. Will be interesting to see how they fare over the summer if the rain stops,” according to one blog entry on March 23.

Tree Planting Day
Volunteers plant seedlings into Waterboxx containers.
Courtesy of Steven Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods

Now, there are 20 new Waterboxxes in North Austin and if the trial proves successful, it will signal a new method for planting trees at bus stops in an environmentally friendly mission that’s less expensive and labor-intensive.

“There are about 25 bus stops on Burnet between 2222 and 183, six have shaded shelters, two are at existing shaded locations, and we planted trees at 7 more,” Zettner said. “Assuming our trees make it, that will eventually double the shade quotient … and if this experiment pans out, we’ll be able to hit many other bus stops and sidewalk locations around NC Austin in the coming couple of years.”

The project has already helped to raise awareness and plant seedlings in North Austin that will one day help shade our riders and help the environment. If you stumble upon one of our little trees tell us how they’re doing and shoot us a picture of its progress. We can’t wait to see them full-grown and hope the project can keep expanding to help plant more trees!