Cap Metro sees ridership increase from high-frequency routes — more on the way!

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Source: Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune recently posted an article on the various ways in which the state’s largest transit agencies are trying to increase their ridership numbers. It focused heavily on the system plan Houston Metro implemented last year and the success the agency has seen since, a 3.3 percent increase since September 2015.

The article noted that Capital Metro is the only other major transit agency in the state to see an uptick in ridership during that time. Our 0.5 percent bump isn’t as significant as Houston Metro’s, but it’s a bright spot in our ridership, driven in part by the successful launch of six High-Frequency Routes in June 2015.

What’s even bigger news, though, is what’s going to happen over the next few years as we begin to implement the transformation of our own bus system, called Connections 2025. The revamp has been in the planning stage for the past year, and we’ve received a ton of input from the community, both from our riders and those who haven’t yet taken advantage of our services. Continue reading “Cap Metro sees ridership increase from high-frequency routes — more on the way!”

Connections 2025: Update on Route 5

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We’ve received many comments on the proposal to change Route 5 along South 5th Street because of the service gap west of South 1st Street. The original proposal discontinued service south of downtown because of the low ridership. Service would remain running parallel along South 1st Street, within ½ mile, on Route 10 (which would run every 15 minutes during peak times).

Now, our team has worked on some changes for Route 5 based on community feedback. The team presented these proposed changes to the Capital Metro board today during their Connections 2025 Work Session. Continue reading “Connections 2025: Update on Route 5”

Connections 2025: Update on Mueller

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Many comments have been received by the Connections 2025 team on the proposed changes in the Mueller area related to connectivity, transfers and access to/from UT and downtown. Because of this feedback, our team has taken a second look at the routes proposed in the area. The team presented these proposed changes to the Capital Metro board today during their Connections 2025 Work Session.

What’s the proposal?

The proposal includes several routes in the Mueller area, including Frequent Local, Local MetroRapid and a circulator.

Included in the original proposal are:

  • MetroRapid 820 on Manor from downtown to Springdale H-E-B (U.S. 183 and Springdale)
  • A weekday circulator along Berkman and Barbara Jordan connecting from Wildflower Terrace and Hancock Center
  • Route 22, an eastside crosstown route, providing Local 30-minute service along Mueller Boulevard

After hearing concerns that there was no all-day, all-week frequent service along Berkman and that part of Mueller was losing its direct connection to UT, we looked at how to improve connectivity. We’ve proposed replacing the circulator, by extending more useful frequent fixed route service into Mueller. The revised proposal includes direct access to UT and downtown on Frequent Local Route 10 and east/west connections to 38th Street on Frequent Route 335 via Berkman.

Our team did look at the alternative in operating MetroRapid Route 820 on Berkman through Mueller. However, due to the current street design, the traffic in the area would negatively impact travel times (adding 9 minutes during peak times) and route performance, while also adding $1 million in operating and vehicle costs, so it is not being recommended at this time. However, we would reintroduce the option on Berkman should the development and city provide transit priority access through the area.

muellerRevised proposal:

  • Remove circulator, replace with other frequent services
  • Route 10 serves Mueller via Mueller, Barbara Jordan, Berkman providing direct connections to Hancock Center, UT and downtown
  • Route 335 continues east to Mueller via 38th ½, Anchor, Manor and Berkman
  • Route 22 ends at Hancock Center
  • Route 820 remains on Manor

About the tradeoffs: A reality of the Connections 2025 Draft Transit Plan is that some people will need to change the way that they make their normal trips – which may now involve a transfer or a short walk – but what you’re getting in return is a significant bump in frequent service across our service area (increasing from 6 to 17 routes) that positively benefit the community at large, overall.

What’s next? Connections 2025 is still a draft plan at this time that continues changing based on feedback. Our team is carefully reviewing each and every response we receive as we work on finalizing this plan. The Capital Metro board will further evaluate the Connections 2025 Draft Transit Plan and will decide on a course to move forward with.

We continue taking feedback at Feedback@connections2025.org as the Draft Transit Plan has not been finalized. We anticipate our board of directors to vote on Final Transit Plan in December.

Visit Connections2025.org to see the updated Connections 2025 Draft Transit Plan interactive map revised today.

Connections 2025: Update on Route 19 at Bull Creek

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We’ve received many comments on the Route 19 proposal along Bull Creek because of the potential gap in service. The route was eliminated in the Connections 2025 Draft Transit Plan due to low ridership. However, in response to community feedback, our team has worked on some possible changes in the Bull Creek area, these were proposed today at our board of directors Connections 2025 Work Session.

What’s the proposal? Service would be available along the new proposed Route 345, offering frequent service on 45th St. between Burnet Rd. and Hancock Center. Additionally, MetroRapid Routes 801 and 803 operate north/south along Guadalupe and Lamar, running every 15 minutes or better. Continue reading “Connections 2025: Update on Route 19 at Bull Creek”

Connections 2025: Update on Route 663

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Capital Metro has been taking community feedback on the Connections 2025 Draft Transit Plan since late August. We’ve heard from thousands of Central Texans across our region. Now, we’re beginning to make adjustments to the proposal based on your feedback. Today, staff presented potential changes to the Capital Metro board of directors.

We’ve heard from many UT students about the proposal to replace Route 663 with other routes. Over the past two months, we’ve talked with students online, by email and on campus at the UT Shuttle Bus Committee and Student Government. We even wrote a blog post to give you more information on our proposal. Our Planning Team has been working hard to understand the UT community’s concerns while also staying mindful of best practices and transit design principles.

Before you read on, it’s important to remember that any changes to Route 663 will not happen immediately. The only change our board of directors has approved is for Express route service on MoPac, beginning in early 2017. Once Capital Metro is ready to make changes to Route 663 service, we would go through a new round of community meetings before implementation, this could be later in 2017, or beyond.

We’ve now adjusted our proposal to reinstate Route 663: Continue reading “Connections 2025: Update on Route 663”

Revisiting the Connections 2025 Draft Transit Plan

backgroun1.PNGThis week, we’re posting updates on Capital Metro routes that we’re revisiting based on community feedback. Today, we presented our Board of Directors some Connections 2025 Draft Transit Plan potential route changes at their November Work Session. We’ll review these briefly at the November board meeting and take public comments. The board will further evaluate to make a final decision.

Before we dive into the details, let’s get a refresher on this year-long process. In early 2016, we hosted a series of open houses designed to gauge our community’s priorities for Connections 2025. We heard you ask for more frequency, reliability and connections. In May, we hosted another round of open houses to talk about the tradeoffs between frequency and coverage. We took that feedback into consideration when designing the Draft Transit Plan that prioritizes frequency while maintaining 98% of current service coverage.   Continue reading “Revisiting the Connections 2025 Draft Transit Plan”

Connections 2025: Update on Route 315/333

blog-333Southwest Austin users of Route 333 have provided lots of feedback to the Connections 2025 team on our proposed elimination of service on Eskew Dr and Convict Hill Rd out to ACC Pinnacle. Because of this feedback, our team has taken a second look at the service changes proposed in the area.

As a reminder, during February, March and May of this year, we held public outreach all over the community and online and received thousands of responses about the types of changes they would like to see made to the transit system. More frequent service was by far the number one request we heard.  Knowing that more frequent service is more expensive to operate, and given the realities of our budget, we have to make some difficult decisions: we can provide more frequent service on major corridors and ask people to travel further to access it, or we can provide more service to more places (called “coverage” service) but with less frequency.

Proposed changes to routes in the Southwest Austin area are examples of these sorts of difficult tradeoffs.

About the tradeoffs: A reality of the Connections 2025 Draft Transit Plan is that some people will need to change the way that they make their normal trips – which may now involve a transfer or a walk – but what you’re getting in return is a significant bump in frequent service across our service area (increasing from 6 to 17 routes) that positively benefits the community at large, overall.

What’s the proposal? The original proposal would eliminate Route 333 service west of Brodie.  Instead, Route 333 would serve the Walmart at MoPac, then operate on Brodie Ln to William Cannon, and across William Cannon to the neighborhoods east of I-35 with 15-minute frequency 7-days per week.  This change was proposed due to low ridership in the Convict Hill and Eskew areas, and to take advantage of stronger demand east of Brodie where the density is more supportive of transit.  On an average weekday, there are 2.9 boardings/hour on Convict Hill and 3.4 boardings /hour at Eskew – our system average is 26 boardings /hour.  Another metric we use for performance is subsidy per passenger boarding, our system average is $4.23. In the segment at Convict Hill, the subsidy per boarding is $20.28, Eskew – $17.35 and William Cannon – $4.89. Under the original proposal, service to ACC Pinnacle would still be available via Route 315 on Ben White.

Will the proposal change? After receiving neighborhood feedback, the team revisited the original proposal. After reexamining land uses, ridership, and subsidy-per-boarding, we presented to alternatives to our original proposal to the Capital Metro board of directors:

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Potential Alternative A

  • Frequent service on Route 333 east of Arbor Trails
  • Every other weekday trip to ACC Pinnacle

Potential Alternative B

  • Create weekday on-call zone to serve gap in service anchored at ACC Pinnacle and/or the H-E-B at Brodie/William Cannon

What’s next? Connections 2025 is still a draft plan at this time that continues changing based on feedback. Our team is carefully reviewing each and every response we receive as we work on finalizing this plan. The Capital Metro board will further evaluate the Connections 2025 Draft Transit Plan and will decide on a course to move forward with.

We continue taking feedback at Feedback@connections2025.org as the Draft Transit Plan has not been finalized. We anticipate our board of directors to vote on Final Transit Plan in December.

Visit Connections2025.org to see the updated Connections 2025 Draft Transit Plan interactive map revised today.