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:

To read the full Austin American-Statesman article, visit:

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)

To Our Riders: “You’re One in a Million”

In celebration of Capital Metro’s ridership increase over the past year, we will be partnering with Randolph Brooks Credit Union, Black Star Co-op and Midtown Commons in hosting our “You’re One in a Million” rider appreciation party on Aug. 10.

From October 2011 to June 2012, Capital Metro saw ridership increase by over one million trips from the previous time frame a year ago. Bus ridership increased by 3.9 percent, or roughly 898,000 trips and MetroRail ridership grew by over 49 percent, or roughly 133,000 trips. Total ridership is on pace to exceed 33 million passenger trips in 2012, with a projected increase to 34 million in 2013.  The increase in ridership is the direct result of streamlining and improving connectivity of routes throughout Capital Metro’s 522 square-mile service area, and also the dedication of area residents and visitors in choosing public transit.

All transit riders are invited on Friday! To thank passengers for riding, Capital Metro will hold customer celebration events at several MetroRail stations on August 10.

Early morning commuters at the Downtown, Howard, Lakeline and Leander stations will be treated to fresh donuts, hot coffee and “You’re One in a Million” buttons, courtesy of Randolph Brooks Credit Union.

Crestview Station will become party central from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with balloons, banners and a rousing welcome from local band Conjunto Los Pinkys and Friends as each train pulls in. Through a Capital Metro partnership with Black Star Co-op at Midtown Commons, all transit riders who present a valid Capital Metro pass or ticket will also receive $1.50 off any house beer. In addition to the fun atmosphere, various lucky passengers will be selected at random from arriving trains and buses to win 7-Day Capital Metro passes. Crestview Station is located at 6920 North Lamar Boulevard in Austin.

“This event is to show how much we appreciate our riders,” said Capital Metro President and CEO Linda S. Watson. “At Capital Metro we strive to provide dependable, beneficial transit options for the community; we will continue to build on our ridership success into the future as we look at more ways of extending transit throughout the region.”Crestview Station

Crestview Station symbolizes a central hub of transit within Capital Metro’s service area where MetroRail and our busiest bus routes combine; in the future it also will be a location on MetroRapid Lamar route.

Riders are strongly encouraged to ride transit to the event, since there will be no parking available at Midtown Commons. MetroRail riders can get off at the Crestview Station and bus riders can take routes 1L/1M, 101 to the celebration. Use our Trip Planner to get step-by-step directions for using Capital Metro routes.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news. See you there!


Date: Friday, August 10, 2012

Location: Crestview Station, 6920 North Lamar Blvd.

Time: 4:00pm-7:00pm

Take your valid Capital Metro bus/rail ticket to Black Star Co-op on Aug. 10 to get $1.50 off house beer.

A special thanks to our partners:

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.

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:

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.

The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus is Here

A new technologically advanced bus with zero emissions is about to hit the streets of Austin. The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus will go into service this month among the University of Texas shuttles, alternating between the Forty Acres and Intramural Fields routes.

Capital Metro along with the University of Texas Center for Electromechanics (UT-CEM) and several other local and national partners have a unique opportunity to be a part of an important project by studying and further refining fuel cell technology.

During the yearlong demonstration, the bus will be fueled at UT-CEM’s state-of-the-art hydrogen  fueling station located on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus. Thanks to support by Gas Technology Institute and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), this station allows for the generation, compression, storage and dispensing of hydrogen on-site.

The prototype bus, manufactured by Proterra, combines electric battery power and mobile hydrogen fuel cells. The bus is a zero emission vehicle; water is the only exhaust. It uses a large lithium battery pack along with an electric drive train and custom transmission. Two hydrogen fuel cells operate to keep the battery pack fully charged.

Continue reading “The Hydrogen Hybrid Bus is Here”

Meals on Wheels and Capital Metro

MoW client Senaida Mokarzel with her lunch.
MoW client Senaida Mokarzel with her lunch.

Meals on Wheels (MoW) is Capital Metro’s neighbor over here on East 5th St. Capital Metro employees have been delivering Meals on Wheels since 1996. Recently, I rode along with Jennifer Govea and Terri Wilson, as they delivered for Meals on Wheels. They volunteer on their lunch break to help out with the program.

MoW, is a non-profit program that gives homebound seniors and individuals with disabilities a hot lunch. The Austin chapter, Meals on Wheels and More also runs other programs, more info here.

Continue reading “Meals on Wheels and Capital Metro”