CapMetro Fare Initiatives Expand Equity in Austin

This month, Capital Metro launched two fare initiatives aimed at making transit even more accessible and easy to use. The first allows customers to add cash-to-mobile at participating retailers around Austin while the second is testing capping fares for low-income users. Our goal with these new features is that our services are equitable in both use and cost and to ensure that people who can least afford public transportation fares are not paying the most.

Cash to App

The CapMetro App now allows users to add cash for future fares at one of over 200 participating retailers including a number of 7-11, Dollar General, Family Dollar and CVS locations. This initiative helps to better serve customers who do not have a credit card, or would rather not use one, to purchase their tickets in the app by loading cash to a mobile wallet at a retail store without a fee. More retail stores may be added to the program over time.

Fare Capping

CapMetro believes that transit is an equity tool and this program aligns with that mission. The fare-capping program, which is currently in the testing stage running for six months from October through April, aims to help customers not pay more than $2.50 per day for Local Service (or $7 for Commuter) and makes riding with CapMetro simpler and more affordable in the long run!

Are you currently enrolled in Medicaid, CHIP, TANF or MAP? Sign up to join our pilot program and receive a free 31-day pass.

Stay up-to-date on CapMetro news by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and be sure to download the CapMetro App to take advantage of all our convenient features.

Austin Voters Approve Funding for Project Connect

The City of Austin decided it’s go time for Project Connect by passing Proposition A in a historic vote on November 3, 2020. Project Connect is the comprehensive plan expanding transit to promote equity, reliability, safety, economic development and cleaner air.

“We are grateful for their trust and vision for the future,” said CapMetro President and CEO Randy Clarke. “This YES vote is a huge step toward creating a more equitable and livable city, providing more and better ways for people to access jobs, education, health care and new opportunities.”

What’s to Come

Transparency Every Step of the Way

An important next step is the launch of the Austin Transit Partnership (ATP) to guide the Project Connect investment with transparency and accountability throughout the project. More details will be available at the upcoming CapMetro board meeting on Monday, November 23.

Economic and Environmental Advancements

Beyond its expanded transit system, Project Connect will bring economic and environmental benefits that will transform Central Texas and support our continued growth. Project Connect is expected to create thousands of jobs and every dollar invested in public transportation will generate $4 in return to the local economy. Moving toward a more sustainable future for our region, the expansion is designed to deliver nearly 300,000 trips each day, reducing the vehicle air pollution and our contribution to climate change.

Thank You, Austin

“I would like to take a moment to thank and honor the essential frontline workers, including our operators and support staff, for their heroic efforts to keep our city moving,” said CapMetro Board Chair Wade Cooper. “Your dedication and hard work have not gone unnoticed, and your contribution to Austin and Central Texas is vital.”

Realizing this transformational plan has only been possible through the collaborative efforts of our partners in government and in the community, as well as a huge number of individuals throughout Central Texas.

“We now have an approved plan, a schedule and the dedicated funding to move us to the next phase, and we remain committed to transparency as we begin building our expanded transit network,” said Clarke. “Project Connect will shape the future for our generation and many to come.”

Learn More

Want to learn more about Project Connect? Check out more information on our website and be sure to follow along on Instagram and Twitter for updates in the coming weeks and months.

See How CapMetro Rides with Care During COVID-19

Just like getting you where you need to go, we are navigating COVID-19 with care. CapMetro has adapted to the pandemic with enhanced safety and cleaning measures to help you ride without adding extra stress to your trip. Find out more how we’re riding with care.

How CapMetro is addressing COVID-19 safety concerns:

  • Electrostatic cleaning. This advanced cleaning process sprays electrostatically charged mist throughout the vehicle to ensure surfaces are sanitized.
  • Physical distancing protocols. In addition to adding plexiglass around the operator and signage prompting riders to “skip a seat,” schedules have also been adjusted to increase service and to help reduce the number of riders per trip.
  • Cashless payment. The CapMetro App allows you to pay for passes with the in-app digital wallet or using Apple Pay or Google Pay without having to exchange physical money.
  • Masks for staff and riders. While we encourage you to always remember your mask when leaving the house, CapMetro has them available in case you forget. Face coverings are required for all riders and staff on CapMetro buses and trains.
  • Vinyl seat upgrades. In addition to our new cleaning technology, we are upgrading our seats from fabric covers to vinyl, making them easier to clean.
  • Crowded vehicle alerts. Coming soon, our Trip Planner feature on mobile and web will provide alerts for “Crowded Vehicles” (over 50% capacity) to help you plan a safe trip.

How you can ride safely during COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask when riding and waiting to ride*
  • Follow physical distancing measures by skipping a seat
  • Avoid riding at peak times catch an earlier or later trip when possible
  • Download the CapMetro App to use cashless payment for your passes
  • Stay at home if you’re feeling sick or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19

*If you have a disability that affects your ability to wear a face covering, please contact Martin Kareithi, our program manager of accessible services, to request a reasonable modification. Call 512-389-7583 or email martin.kareithi@capmetro.org.

Click here to find more information about our COVID-19 response, along with up-to-date schedule changes. We look forward to seeing you on your next ride!

Park & Watch Austin Drive-In Movie Series

Introducing Park & Watch!

We’ve teamed up with Do512 for a four-week drive-in movie series in October all across Austin! Each week Do512 and CapMetro will partner to host a drive-in movie at a different location around Austin. These will be a safe, fun way to get people out to enjoy the fall evenings and watch a classic film favorite.

How to Attend

Each week, Do512 will select winners at random for a free car slot at the drive-in. Winners will be notified via email and receive a reminder so they can plan their night out! Check out the links between each showing below to enter for your chance to win.

Safety Information

Do512 and CapMetro will be following all City of Austin COVID Safety Recommendations. Attendees will not be allowed to roam outside their cars except to use facilities and will be required to wear a mask when walking to and from.

Week One: October 9 | The Sandlot

Lakeline Park & Ride | 6:00 p.m.

Enter here for a chance to win a spot for The Sandlot showing!

Week Two: October 16 | Space Jam

Tech Ridge Park & Ride | 6:00 p.m.

Enter here for a chance to win a spot for Space Jam showing!

Week Three: October 23 | Coco

Location TBA | 6:00 p.m.

Enter here for a chance to win a spot for Coco showing!

Week Four: October 30 | The Addams Family

Long Center For The Performing Arts | 6:00 p.m.

Enter here for a chance to win a spot for The The Addams Family showing!

CapMetro Implements Temporary Service Changes

COVID-Banner

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, CapMetro services will operate a modified schedule, seven days a week beginning Wednesday, March 18.

Service Impacts

Capital Metro will implement changes to its service designed to protect employees, promote public health and ensure that we continue to provide service to all parts of our community.

Capital Metro services, including MetroBus, MetroRapid, MetroExpress and MetroRail will operate on a modified schedule.

You can read about those service changes at CapMetro.org/COVID19.

Customer/Employee Care & Safety

To further ensure customer and bus operator health and safety, we ask that customers board their bus through the rear door. We also ask that they respect the agency’s fare system during this emergency situation.

Capital Metro designed these new measures to improve social distancing for our employees and customers, while still providing necessary transit to critical services.

Prevention and Awareness

We are following guidance from Austin Public Health and continue to monitor the situation.

In addition to our daily cleaning procedures for all CapMetro vehicles and transit facilities, we are applying a disinfectant to common hand contact areas, such as poles and handrails, armrests, door handles and stop request buttons.

Later this week, we will install special signs encouraging social distancing on our vehicles.

Along with these efforts, we need your help:

  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Maintain good hygiene.
  • Limit your non-essential travel as much as possible, especially to locations with many people.
  • Limiting your contact with others is the best way to stay healthy.

If you think you might be getting sick, please stay home and contact your healthcare provider.

Visit Austin Public Health’s information page for up-to-date, detailed information: austintexas.gov/COVID19.

CapMetro Community Update

As a primary source of transportation for many in our community, CapMetro must address the COVID-19 situation while maintaining safe, critical transit services and a safe work environment.

PREVENTION & AWARENESS

  • We implemented enhanced daily cleaning procedures on March 2 for all CapMetro transit vehicles and facilities by applying a disinfectant to common hand contact areas such as poles and handrails, armrests, door handles and stop request buttons.
  • Safe hygiene messages developed by Austin Public Health were added to all CapMetro vehicles, and we’ve included these hygiene reminders at our bus and rail stop digital signs where available. CapMetro has also emphasized these messages on its social media channels.
  • While it is not logistically feasible to add hand sanitizers to hundreds of buses and thousands of stops, our customers and employees are encouraged to practice regular hand washing to reduce the risk of public spread.
  • We asked our customers to stay home if they are feeling sick and to follow guidelines from Austin Public Health.

RESPONSE MANAGEMENT

  • We activated an internal Coronavirus Task Force to provide around-the-clock assistance to the Capital Metro service area and can act swiftly should we be alerted to a case of coronavirus affecting our employees or service.
  • Our senior leadership team has met daily to prepare to address the evolving situation.
  • Additionally, we have been in discussion with transit industry leaders throughout Texas and nationally to ensure we are collaborating on best practices for monitoring the COVID-19 impact.
  • Capital Metro is working closely with Austin Public Health, and we are following its guidance on recent developments on COVID-19.

EMPLOYEE CARE & SAFETY

  • The health and safety of all personnel remains our primary concern. We continue to maintain safe, clean work environments.
  • All staff are being encouraged to stay home if sick.
  • CapMetro’s leadership team, management of contracted services and union leadership are working together to support any employee who needs to take sick time away from their duties or if we have to reduce service levels.
  • CapMetro has developed contingency plans for remote staffing and systems redundancy for operations and administrative functions as a part of our business continuity plan.

SERVICE IMPACTS

  • In coordination with The University of Texas, Capital Metro stopped running all UT Shuttle routes at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 13, and we will not run this service during Spring Break. We will continue to work with UT to adjust service based on campus activities.
  • CapMetro is in close coordination with centers that care for vulnerable populations. Therefore, MetroAccess clients who have questions specific to their service can review an informational question-and-answer update tailored to their needs at CapMetro.org/MetroAccess-FAQ

FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS

  • CapMetro will continue to analyze and modify its operations with guidance from Austin Public Health and the impact of personnel availability.
  • CapMetro has developed continuity of operations plans, and should there be a need to modify service or fare policies we will share these updates on our website, send to local media and publish to our MetroAlerts subscribers.


We thank you for your patience and support as we deliver critical transportation services for our community.