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.

Rolling Out New Fare Structure January 26

new_passesFares for Capital Metro will be changing January 26 as we launch our new tiered fare system that will consist of three main service categories: Local, Premium and Commuter. At the same time we launch this new system you can expect to see a “new look” on passes, too. New fares go into effect Jan. 26. Continue reading “Rolling Out New Fare Structure January 26”

The Fare Policy

Yesterday the board adopted a Fare Policy that will guide the board and our staff when deliberating changes to fares in the future.  It details the fare change process and the objectives that will be considered when contemplating a fare change. In my opinion the policy is a great benefit to customers because it adds some transparency and accountability to the topic and the process.

The overall financial goal is to recover a minimum of 20 percent of transit operating costs with fares paid through the farebox by individual passengers and through our agreements with organizations like UT, ACC and the city of Austin. (The projected farebox recovery after the fares change on Jan. 16 is 12.5 percent.)

It’s tricky business, because we want to both keep fares affordable and yet also maximize revenue to help maintain and expand transit operations.  So the policy attempts to provide a framework for striking the right balance.

But achieving a 20 percent farebox recovery goal is more than just raising fares. The other two actions that improve farebox recovery are increasing ridership and controlling/reducing costs. The policy acknowledges that fact, and the board emphasized this point and their desire for staff to focus on all three areas, not just fares.

Board Member Frank Fernandez, who chairs the Finance and Audit Committee and pushed for the creation of the policy, said, “Hopefully what this policy does is helps set expectations: this is our process when we’re looking at fares and trying to make them fair. We want them low enough so people can afford them but not hurt us in terms of our long term sustainability.”

Capital Metro adopts new fares effective Jan. 16, 2011

Last night the Capital Metro board adopted a new fare structure that will become effective Jan. 16, 2011 (in conjunction with the January service change).

The board made a few adjustments to the proposal presented by staff: added a Reduced Local seven-day pass at $4.50 and a Reduced Regional seven-day pass at $10; and, removed the provision that MetroAccess customers can ride free on fixed-route buses to allow staff 60 days to study the issue and to study the feasibility of an annual pass. Also, although staff had originally recommended an increase to the RideShare monthly fee, after further discussion, staff decided it would be better to leave RideShare fares as is for now. The Planning Department has been discussing a new structure entirely for RideShare fares, one based on mileage and the number of participants in the carpool/vanpool (basically creating an incentive for vanpool groups to keep a full van). Since that new structure may come to fruition within the next year, it didn’t make sense to raise RideShare fares now.

Here are the fares approved by the board: