Happy Girl Scout Day – March 12

Girl Scout Day celebrates the day the first Girl Scout group was created on March 12, 1912, when Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia for a local meeting. Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has a membership of over 3.2 million girls and adults.

We are especially proud of our local scouts’ role in history. Did you know the Girl Scouts of Central Texas and Capital Metro created the Girl Scouts first-ever Rail Safety Patch Program?

ImageTake a lead from the Girl Scouts and educate yourself about how to be safe around railroad tracks. Check out:

Capital Metro conducts Operation Lifesaver (OL) presentations FREE OF CHARGE to schools, community and educational organizations in the Central Texas region. To schedule a presentation, please contact Mr Celso Baez at 512-389-7559.

Have a safe and happy Girl Scout Day and Women’s History Month.

SXSW Transit Tips

SXSW is in full swing. Capital Metro has added service on several bus routes and MetroRail, too, to help people get around. Here’s what you need to know:

First, bookmark http://www.capmetro.org/sxsw2013.  Maps, detours, schedules, etc.–it’s all there.

If you like printed-out stuff, here’s a handy downtown transit map showing detours through downtown and the special rail schedules.

Detours

Lots of streets are closed. Take a look at the city’s handy interactive map showing street closures. Most  of Capital Metro’s local bus service is detouring through downtown. Most routes will be detoured off of Congress Ave and available at 8 key stops on Guadalupe and Lavaca. Check out this map:
sxsw-superstops

Because many bus routes are detoured away from Congress Ave., about 50 bus stops are closed. Look for the bright pink T-shirts covering the bus stop poles. There are signs at each closed bus stop, too, that will tell you where the nearest open bus stop is for your route.

The eight “super” stops on Lavaca/Guadalupe are marked with a bright green flag that says “Open Stop.”

Getting Schedule Info on the Go

Hey check it out, every bus stop has a unique stop ID. With a cell phone and this ID number, you can get specific next scheduled bus info for that stop.

MetroRail Schedules

MetroRail has expanded hours today and next Saturday, 10 a.m. through midnight. During the week next week, MetroRail daytime frequency will nearly double. Expect a train every 34 minutes, all day.

Full Trains? Full Buses?

As we move into the music portion of SXSW, trains and buses will likely be full. Have a backup plan if you encounter a full bus or train. Signs on each train station will point you to nearby bus service.

Riding with a bike? When trains are full, bikes are limited to 4 per compartment (8 total per train). All Capital Metro buses have a bike rack that holds 2 bikes each.

Late Night Riding

If you’re staying out past midnight, our late night bus service may be just the ticket. Six nights a week, catch a Night Owl to/from 6th and Congress and neighborhoods throughout town, from midnight through 3 a.m. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, you can also ride one of three E-bus routes, which begin service at 8:30 p.m. and run until about 3 a.m. Get late night travel details here.

THERE IS NO LATE NIGHT SERVICE ON SUNDAYS! You’ll need to make other arrangements on Sunday nights, folks.

Here’s a tip for evening riders: use your cell phone to help flag the bus down. A coworker told me about this tip, which works great especially if it’s not well lit at your bus stop, or you are wearing dark colored clothing. Turn your cell phone on and use that to signal the approaching bus.

Additional Resources

City of Austin City Stage 

Austin Chronicle SXSW Travel Tips

Capital Metro Moved More People Than Ever in 2012

DP

We’ve crunched all the numbers for 2012, and here’s the bottom line: Capital Metro knocked it out of the park in 2012.

During 2012, we provided an average 112,000 rides each weekday—enough passengers to completely fill both the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and Disch-Falk Field combined.

The proof that central Texans are choosing Capital Metro as a preferred way to get around lies in our numbers–in 2012 we provided over 34 million boardings–more trips than the population of Texas!

Across the nation, more people are turning to public transit as the preferred transportation choice, but Capital Metro’s growth rate far exceeds the national trend. Here at home, our fixed-route bus ridership is boasting a 22-month growth streak, and MetroRail ridership has tripled in two years.

See the growth in our bus ridership for yourself–2011 compared to 2012 below:

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2012 was a big year for MetroRail too! We’ve got more people riding the rails every single day with an average 2,200 boardings each weekend.

In 2012, MetroRail hit a milestone of its one millionth passenger trip, and ridership increased nearly 50 percent in 2012 over 2011.

Rail’s popular! See the ridership spike:

PR1

Capital Metro made progress in 2012 by analyzing service and making changes towards creating a more efficient system.

Going into 2013, we’re excited to keep  driving progress by working hard at planning for the region’s future with high-capacity transit solutions, like MetroRapid, that will move more people at less cost and with less impact to the environment.

We are also focused on the regional planning effort, Project Connect, that has developed a high-capacity transit vision to keep all of us in Central Texas moving and connected.

How are we driving progress? Check out this super sweet video that breaks it down:

Capital Metro Supports APD’s Holiday Traditions

We want to thank the Austin Police Department for giving back to the community, and providing an opportunity for us to give as well. Capital Metro staff participated last week in two holiday community events sponsored by APD that are near and dear to our hearts:  Amigos en Azul “Shop with a Cop” and Operation Blue Santa.

ImageFor the past ten years, Capital Metro has played a supporting role to the Amigos en Azul “Shop with a Cop”, which provides students from two local elementary schools a $50 shopping spree at Target, and a friendly outing with our local police officers.

Capital Metro provided two buses to carry the police officers and kids over to Target for the shopping spree. Capital Metro Security Manager and retired APD Sergeant John Jones was at the helm of one of the buses, and a police officer drove the other.

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Capital Metro volunteers helped Operation Blue Santa make the holidays brighter for 25 families.

On Saturday, Dec. 15, 18 employee volunteers and family members from Capital Metro, McDonald Transit and MV Transportation helped make deliveries to 25 families for Operation Blue Santa. The deliveries were made in a MetroAccess van, complete with Santa! Capital Metro employees have been involved with Operation Blue Santa for many years as a very rewarding way to give back to the community and to get their children involved, too.  McDonald Transit Senior Trainer Toni Jackson organizes our volunteers each year.

Check out all the photos from these two events on our facebook page. Season’s greetings from Capital Metro!

City/Capital Metro Partnership to Upgrade Accessibility at Bus Stops Throughout the City

Over the next five years, many Capital Metro bus stops will be receiving accessibility makeovers, thanks to an ongoing partnership with the City of Austin Public Works Department. Through this partnership, more than 170 bus stops were upgraded last year.

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This bus stop at Burnet Rd at Rutland is just one example of hundreds of the improved usability and mobility that is coming to bus stops around the city.

Today, City Council approved an amendment to the existing interlocal agreement between the two entities that extends the partnership for the next five years.  

Pending budget availability each year, Capital Metro will reimburse the City up to $10 million over the next five years to help upgrade Capital Metro bus stops to meet the highest standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Public Works will manage the individual projects, which will be timed to coincide with other sidewalk or street work already planned whenever possible.  

“This collaboration is a great example of local tax dollars being spent wisely, with huge benefits for the community,” said City Councilman and Capital Metro Chairman Mike Martinez. “Incorporating bus stop improvements into already planned city projects just makes sense. It reduces staff time and paperwork, ultimately saving both the city and Capital Metro, time and money, while improving the walkability and accessibility of the city.”

Although all of our bus stops met the requirements of the ADA at the time they were constructed, we wanted to improve accessibility and meet the newest standards. Capital Metro launched a program in 2008 to upgrade stops with concrete landing pads, curb cuts, and in some cases, sidewalks. In 2008, two-thirds of bus stops needed some level of accessibility improvement. Today, about a third of the bus stops still need upgrades and will be addressed over the next five years. 

Capital Metro: “Seriously Transparent”

Capital Metro CEO Mike Martinez is at the helm of the Transparency Bus.
Capital Metro Board Chairman Mike Martinez is at the helm of the Transparency Bus.

Capital Metro has been awarded—for the third year in a row—the Texas Comptroller’s highest rating for its financial transparency efforts. Yesterday, we unveiled a unique “transparency bus” to remind the community—(you)—they can track every dollar Capital Metro spends on our website.

Senator Kirk Watson noted in a statement, “Capital Metro has done a ton of hard work over the past three years to transform itself into a model of best practices…Capital Metro’s work shows a continued commitment to being accountable on current and future investments in our comprehensive transportation system.”

CEO Linda Watson issued the following open letter to the community yesterday.

December 4, 2012
Greetings.

Capital Metro is seriously transparent. That was the message I conveyed today, along with Austin City Councilman and Capital Metro Chairman Mike Martinez, and Legislative Director for Senator Kirk Watson, Sandy Guzman, at a news conference announcing that Capital Metro has been awarded the highest financial transparency rating—for the third year in a row—from the Texas Comptroller.

We were the first transit system in the state to receive a gold transparency rating.

Capital Metro posts a wealth of financial information Continue reading “Capital Metro: “Seriously Transparent””

Capital Metro’s Taking you to the Turkey Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, Capital Metro will be partnering with H-E-B in its 23rd annual Feast of Sharing dinner on Nov. 20 from 4-8 p.m at Palmer Events Center (900 Barton Springs Road). This is an opportunity for H-E-B to give back to the community by providing residents with a delicious, free meal and festive entertainment.

For the 10th year, Capital Metro has partnered with H-E-B to provide 5,000 Day-Passes to Central Texans for a free ride to the feast. The passes include a special printed H-E-B Fest of Sharing logo and can be picked up at the service desk for free at five area stores:

– H-E-B at 2701 E. 7th St.

– H-E-B at 1000 E. 41st St.

– H-E-B at 2400 S. Congress

– H-E-B at 2508 E. Riverside

– H-E-B at 9414 N. Lamar

(NoteH-E-B began distributing passes last week, so you may want to call ahead to check availability.)

Last year, H-E-B provided about 14,000 meals and is grateful Capital Metro has extended its helping hand once again to promote the community event.

Use Capital Metro’s online Trip Planner, call the GO Line at 474-1200, or download the Austin Capital Metro app to find your best route to the Palmer Events Center. Route 30 Barton Creek, 5 Woodrow/South 5th and 100 MetroAirport have stops near the Palmer Events Center.