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.

Image
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.

Image
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.

Capital Metro Partners with Restore a Voice for F1

The checkered flags are ready and tickets to the race are sold out as Formula 1 races into Austin this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, bringing in a record number of visitors to Central Texas.

But, local organization, Restore a Voice says the international stage also brings an elevated threat of human trafficking this week.

To raise awareness, Restore a Voice has partnered with Capital Metro to bring six of these ads to the public:

1 Formula 4 Freedom. Racing to Stop Human Trafficking.
If you’re looking to pay for company we’re already booked you a room.

And 50 of these, viewable inside Capital Metro buses:

All ads will be up through December 31.

Larry Megason, executive director of Restore a Voice told us that he hopes folks seeing the ads will gain awareness of the human trafficking is happening in Austin, even during Formula 1.

Larry Megason, Restore a Voice executive director

“We hope that it will drive people to our website where they can get some information about (human trafficking) that is happening in our city and globally,” Megason said. “There is an issue in our city and we want people to know about it.”

As listed on the ads, the U.S. National Human Trafficking hotline is available at 888.373.7888

New App Helping Austinites On-The-Go

Capital Metro now offers a 100% FREE mobile app. It keeps your commute efficient with a Trip Planner, schedule times, service alerts and more–right at your fingertips!

Best of all, now you can purchase fares from the palm of your hand. That’s right! We’ve enabled this new feature TODAY. Now, you can take a sneak-peek of this fare purchasing feature and enjoy the full-capability of the Capital Metro app.

Use the Capital Metro app in FIVE EASY STEPS!

Step 1: Using your smartphone, easily locate the Capital Metro app by Bytemark in the App Store (http://ow.ly/eVh3u) or Google Play (http://ow.ly/eVh7a).

Look for some screen images that look like these:

Download the app for FREE!!

Step 2: Use this blue and green homescreen to navigate throughout the mobile app to reach: Schedules, Routes/Maps, Event info, Advisories and More Info.

Click the bottom row of the screen to navigate back to home, Buy Passes, Use Passes or change your profile settings.

Step 3: Buy Passes by clicking the shopping cart icon at the bottom, which will take you to this screen:

You will see the options to purchase either Local or Regional Passes. Tap the green plus circle to add the fare to your cart.

Step 4: Use Passes

When you are ready to board the bus or train and validate your fare, click the ticket icon at the bottom bar to Use Passes.

A screen like the one above will show up where you will see which passes you have available to validate. Simply tap on the pass you’d like to use and choose: “Use Selected Passes” at the bottom.

Tickets are available immediately after purchase, but once you activate your fare, the clock is ticking on the expiration date. Activate your fare just prior to boarding.

Step 5: As you are boarding, show the validate fare screen to the bus operator or train fare platform inspector. The validated screen will look like this:

The fare you have selected and amount will be shown on-screen along with the time and date of expiration. You bus operator or the fare inspector on your train may ask you to touch the screen as a security measure. Touching the screen will activate a visual change to the screen indicating a valid fare.

That’s it! Using the Capital Metro app is easy!

A few tips to keep in mind:

– The mobile app will only be available during a specific piloting phase until November 24.

– Capital Metro will not offer refunds for fares purchased via the app.

– Please call customer service for problems loading the app at (512) 474-1200 available: M-F 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

– If you have more questions check out our app FAQ section.

Joining the Costume Party Downtown on Halloween?

Even though Halloween’s on a Wednesday, don’t let that be a drag. We know you’ve come to know the trusty E-Bus as your ride Downtown on the weekends, now take advantage of that tonight!

Capital Metro wants to help you reach the big party down as safely and conveniently as possible. That’s why we’re running E-Bus service on a Wednesday, which usually doesn’t happen, but we’re making an exception to help get all those Honey Boo Boo and Psy look-alikes to 6th Street.

Hours will be the same as E-Bus weekend service (8:30 p.m. until 3 a.m.). Catch a ride using routes #410 West Campus, #411 Riverside, and #412 Main Campus. Regular fares will apply. UT students ride free with valid school ID and ACC students ride with the Green Pass.

All you Halloween go-ers can also ride Capital Metro’s local service to and from the downtown area until around midnight. Night Owl service will run its usual schedule until 3 a.m.

We hope all our riders have a good time tonight. Use Capital Metro as your safe ride this Halloween!

We want to see all those elaborate costumes! Post your Halloween pictures as you ride transit today–rail, bus, E-Bus. Tweet them to @CapMetroATX or post to our Facebook wall!

If you’re just trying to go about your daily commute tonight: Capital Metro riders who plan to use the #4 Montopolis, #21 Exposition and #100 MetroAirport routes should take notice of anticipated 6th Street closure detours due to Halloween events from around 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. More detailed route and detour information can be found in the Capital Metro website ‘Service Alerts’ section.