Travel FREE to Washington DC: APTA 2013 Youth Summit

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Public transportation plays a significant role in finding solutions to the numerous challenges facing America today. Whether it’s more jobs, a cleaner environment, energy independence or a better quality of life; Public Transportation Takes Us There!

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is seeking a diverse group of students from across the country to participate in the 2013 APTA Youth Summit to Advance Public Transportation being held in Washington, DC, June 23 – 27. Students will explore the environmental benefits of public transportation; how communities as a whole can prosper with increased services; the role local and federal policies play in public transit usage; and career opportunities in the transit industry.

If you will be a high school junior or senior in the Fall of 2013, please submit an application today and join your peers from across America as they come together in Washington, D.C.

COMPLETED APPLICATIONS DUE: APRIL 22, 2013

Visit the APTA website for an application.

Completed applications should be emailed to: students@apta.com or faxed to 202-496-4323.

With this ALL EXPENSES PAID OPPORTUNITY*, you will:

  • Experience five days in the nation’s Capital
  • Meet lawmakers and congressional leaders
  • Participate in hands-on local transit tours
  • Discover the wide range of exciting career paths within the transit industry
  • Learn how public transportation is helping shape a brighter future

For more information, please contact: Program Manager – Educational Services, APTA, Cheryl Pyatt at 202-496-4875 or cpyatt@apta.com.

*All expenses paid by APTA.

New Buses Rolling Out onto Austin’s Streets This Week

New BusHave you seen them? Maybe you’ve even had the chance to experience that “new car smell” as you step on the bus. If you haven’t, chances are you will very soon.

Starting this week, Capital Metro will be adding three to five NEW buses into service each week until October! That’s right. Each week!

We’re excited to see the fancy, new electric-blue buses driving around Austin and we hope you are too. These buses are more comfortable, sleeker, better for the environment, brand-spankin’ new and are replacing older buses that have reached the end of the road.

In total, 54 New Flyer buses were approved by the Capital Metro board of directors in February.  The new buses are part of a Capital Metro strategy to maintain a state of good repair.

“We’re on the move everyday connecting people, jobs and communities. The new buses entering the fleet will allow Capital Metro to provide better reliability and an improved customer experience,” said Linda S. Watson, Capital Metro president/CEO.

The effort is also one step towards rebranding and differentiating services by color: local service will be the snazzy electric-blue, MetroRapid will be silver and MetroRail will continue red.

To further serve our customer’s needs, and improve service for bicycle transit riders, we will also be installing three position bike racks on ten of the new buses as a pilot project to test usability.

The buses use clean diesel which produces fewer emissions and meets 2010 Environmental Protection Agency Standards. Compared to 2009 buses they are 10 times cleaner and, more impressively, 25 times cleaner than buses from 20 years ago, which is great for the environment.

So, if you come upon one of our new buses, let us know! Tweet us @CapMetroNews or write on our Facebook page. We want to know!

Ozone Season: What You Can Do

Clean Air Force

Spring in Texas is in full bloom and although you might want to jump in the car and take some pictures with Bluebonnets on the side of the road, you should know Ozone Season has officially started and will stick around with us until late October.

But, don’t let that get you down because there are things you can do to stay safe and help out the environment during this year’s Ozone season.

Yesterday, Mayor Lee Leffingwell joined the CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas at Austin City Hall to mark the beginning of the Ozone Season and speak with the public about reducing air emissions starting now and continuing throughout the summer.

 “We are urging Central Texans to pay extra attention to ozone alerts and air quality levels this Ozone Season. Basically anything that limits your driving or electricity use will help make a positive difference in the quality of air we are breathing,” said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

Just as Mayor Leffingwell said it, it’s our #1 recommendation this Ozone Season too — limit your driving and help out the environment. By using Capital Metro, one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is to ride public transit instead of taking a personal car. Continue reading “Ozone Season: What You Can Do”

New Tree Seedlings Planted Along North Austin Bus Routes

Tree Planting Day
Sustainable Neighborhoods and Capital Metro partner in efforts of planting more trees at bus stops.
Photo courtesy of Steven Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods

Trees — they help sustain the environment, and if you’re one of our MetroBus riders, you love to see them at the bus stops. They look nice, give you shade and keep you cooler during the summer. And, now we’re one step closer to seeing them at every bus stop thanks to the partnership between Capital Metro and volunteers from Sustainable Neighborhoods.

Earlier this month, over 25 volunteers went out to nine bus stops on Burnet and Anderson to plant two or three Mexican Plum and Texas Redbud tree seedlings at each site on March 11.

The seedlings were planted with a nifty new item called a Groasis Waterboxx, which will help water the seedlings for one year through a self-irrigation process. After a year, the trees should naturalize and not require subsequent watering when the re-useable Waterboxx can then be installed on another seedling.

The partnership is the beginning of a trial project for planting the street trees along Capital Metro bus routes.

“The tree seedlings are tiny – just 4″ liners,” Steven Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods said. “The waterboxxes are about the size of a large tire. They are donut shaped and wrap around the seedling, buffering it and emitting moisture very slowly. The waterboxx’s water bladder absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night, causing water to condensate and refill the bladder.”

Since the planting day, Sustainable Neighborhoods has been checking in on the bus stop seedlings and documenting their progress on their blog: http://www.snaustin.org/brainstorming/waterboxx

“Thanks in part to good rains, the waterboxxes have remained mostly full and the plants wet. Will be interesting to see how they fare over the summer if the rain stops,” according to one blog entry on March 23.

Tree Planting Day
Volunteers plant seedlings into Waterboxx containers.
Courtesy of Steven Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods

Now, there are 20 new Waterboxxes in North Austin and if the trial proves successful, it will signal a new method for planting trees at bus stops in an environmentally friendly mission that’s less expensive and labor-intensive.

“There are about 25 bus stops on Burnet between 2222 and 183, six have shaded shelters, two are at existing shaded locations, and we planted trees at 7 more,” Zettner said. “Assuming our trees make it, that will eventually double the shade quotient … and if this experiment pans out, we’ll be able to hit many other bus stops and sidewalk locations around NC Austin in the coming couple of years.”

The project has already helped to raise awareness and plant seedlings in North Austin that will one day help shade our riders and help the environment. If you stumble upon one of our little trees tell us how they’re doing and shoot us a picture of its progress. We can’t wait to see them full-grown and hope the project can keep expanding to help plant more trees!

Resolve to Ride in 2012

Happy 2012!

For many people, New Year’s is a time of reflection and introspection. There’s something about wrapping up a year and anticipating the next that just lends itself perfectly to resolutions and goal-setting. What went well in 2011? What do I want to do differently in 2012?

If any of your resolutions for 2012 pertain to saving money, getting healthier, or being kinder to our planet, consider adding Capital Metro to your bucket list for 2012.

SAVE SOME GREEN
Conservatively, you can save a couple hundred bucks a month on gas by taking public transportation instead of driving your car. It costs just $1 per trip on the bus, and buying a multi-ride pass will bring the cost per trip down even more. Calculate your savings. Check out our low fares.

GET LEAN
I’m always fretting over my weight and trying to find time to incorporate more exercise into my daily routine. You may not immediately connect public transportation with exercise, but consider that every single transit rider starts and ends as a pedestrian. Think about it: you walk (or bike) to your stop, and on the tail end, you walk to your destination. Over time that walking adds up to pounds and inches.

GO GREEN
Recycling is great, but if you’re ready to take it to the next level, ride Capital Metro. Taking public transportation instead of driving your own car is the single greatest action you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. Calculate your carbon savings by riding public transportation.

If you want to make a difference in 2012 on the environment or on your waistline or bottom line, mosey over to Capital Metro’s online store and purchase a transit pass today. Here’s to a great beginning to 2012.