Cap Remap Explainer: FAQ Edition 

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Cap Remap is coming in just a few more days. After two years of planning, months of preparation and a couple of weeks at bus stops throughout our bus network — we’ve talked to more than 7,600 of you, face to face — it’s nearly here. 

In that time, we’ve heard some questions from y’all about how we came up with the plan and why. We’ve answered them as best we could, but we also wanted to gather a few persistent questions in one place to provide you answers. 

Before we get to them, however, we wanted to make sure you’re aware that we are developing pilot programs that might serve some of the areas discussed below that aren’t best served by regular bus service using large, 40-foot buses. It’s not certain what form that will take, but please stay tuned for more info as the pilots are announced. 

 

Route-10

Why won’t the Route 10 go into Hancock Center anymore? 

In order to provide reliable and frequent service on Route 10, we changed the approach to serving Hancock Center so that the bus will stay on Red River instead of driving into the shopping center itself. In the past, this wasn’t possible because there wasn’t a way for our customers to safely cross Red River, but now there’s a pedestrian beacon that customers can use to stop traffic and safely cross the street. It will be a longer walk to Red River than to the current bus stop inside the shopping center. However, the walk from the store to the street is similar in distance to how we serve every other H-E-B location in Austin. In addition, the time it takes to enter the parking lot and travel back to the street would prevent the new Route 10 from providing the frequent and direct service the majority of our customers have requested. 

Does Cap Remap serve low-income and minority communities better than the current network? 

Yes. An independent third party conducted an equity analysis of the Cap Remap service changes, and the Federal Transit Authority subsequently reviewed that analysis. The FTA found that, across the entire system, Cap Remap “substantially improved service for minority and low-income individuals.” The total minority population within 5 minutes of a bus stop with High-Frequency service will increase from 60,000 currently to 110,000, and while less than 1 percent of our existing customers will be farther than a 10-minute walk to transit service, 80 percent will have access to High-Frequency service (compared to 50 percent currently). 

Continue reading “Cap Remap Explainer: FAQ Edition “

A Cap Remap Explainer: Rerouting onto Major Corridors

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The biggest improvement Cap Remap will bring to our bus system is the increase in frequency on so many routes. We will triple the number of Local bus routes in our High-Frequency Network, going from four to 12 (in addition to the two MetroRapid lines). 

Another big change will be the rerouting of some buses off neighborhood streets and onto busier corridors. This is being done for several reasons and will benefit the system overall, but it will definitely require some adjustments for our customers, many of whom will have to walk a couple of extra blocks to get to the better service. 

Our service planners like this kind of change because it allows buses to travel on busier streets that are more pedestrian friendly and conducive to transit use. It also increases the connectivity of the network since traveling on major corridors increases the transfer points between High-Frequency routes. 

Our bus operators like this kind of change because neighborhood streets tend to be narrower and often twist and turn in ways that connector corridors don’t. Put directly, it’s simpler and safer to drive on a street like 51st Street than on a neighborhood street like Rogge Lane. 

Another reality of Cap Remap is that we’re a public agency working with limited resources. To provide so much High-Frequency service throughout the city, we needed to make tough decisions in certain places, because we can’t provide that level of service everywhere. We believe that the overall plan will benefit the most people.  

Now let’s look at a few examples of what we’re talking about.  Continue reading “A Cap Remap Explainer: Rerouting onto Major Corridors”

A Cap Remap Explainer: New Signs

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A lot goes into making the largest and most sweeping changes to Capital Metro’s service.

In addition to all of the planning and all of the community outreach we’ve already done, there’s a lot of physical work that still needs to take place.

Like with bus stops. You ever think much about bus stops? We do. We’ve got about 2,600 of them now, and 350 of them won’t be in service beginning June 3. Another 115 or so brand new ones will begin to serve locations that don’t currently have bus service.

The thing about it is that someone’s gotta put up all those new signs and take down all the old ones. We also have to let y’all know that that’s happening and, of course, where you can get your bus once all the changes are in place.

But that work doesn’t happen overnight. And so you’ll begin to see some new signs at our bus stops pretty soon, and it’s important for you to understand what they’re telling you. Four new signs are already appearing at stops around town, and they’ve got four big messages about the changes to our service.

Green SignThe Green Signs

If you see these signs, that means some service at the stop is changing. Maybe a new route will serve that location, or maybe a current route is being removed. The routes listed in the table aren’t necessarily what serve that stop currently, but they’ll be there beginning June 3.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “A Cap Remap Explainer: New Signs”

A Cap Remap Explainer: Route 37

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One of the big things we’ve been saying about Cap Remap is that more than half of our routes will change. And, while only two current routes will be eliminated entirely without their service being replaced, many customers will need to learn new routes because their current routes won’t operate after June 3.

For instance, let’s look at the Route 37 Colony Park/Windsor Park.

The 37 is a super important outlet for residents in far East Austin. It travels from Colony Park to Cameron Road and then through Mueller into downtown. It usually travels at about 30-minute frequencies. And many people rely on it to get to work.

Beginning June 3, though, there won’t be a Route 37 anymore. We’re really confident in what’s replacing its service, and we think it will serve you well too. Let’s explore that a bit.

Route 337The new Route 337 will replace the 37’s current routing east of Cameron Road, but instead of turning south toward Mueller and downtown, it turns north. From there, the 337 takes over the current Route 320’s path along St. Johns and provides a one-seat ride to ACC Highland before traveling on 2222 to Balcones Drive, just west of MoPac.

Some questions: Continue reading “A Cap Remap Explainer: Route 37”

Cap Remap is Coming!

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It’s almost here. Really it is.

Back in the fall of 2015, Capital Metro staffers began the process of looking at our long-term service plan and revising our bus network. We came out of that process in February 2017 with the Connections 2025 Transit Plan, meant to guide our service planning for 10 years.

And guide us it has.

In just about two months, we’ll implement the major parts of the Connections 2025 recommendations with our June service change, which we’re calling Cap Remap. And the great thing about the launch is that the first week will feature free rides for everyone.

You’ve probably heard some about what’s coming. At least we hope you have, because we’ve been shouting it from the rooftops for a while now.

More than half of our routes will see some level of change, though only two will be eliminated entirely without their service being replaced (Routes 122 and 970). We’re confident the system will work better. It’ll work better for us as a public agency, because it means we’re using your tax dollars more efficiently and more effectively. And, more importantly, it will work better for you, because it creates a bus network that has more direct routing and is easier to understand.

It will also mean our buses will come much more often. We have four Local routes that operate as part of our High-Frequency Network now. In two months, we’ll triple that number. Continue reading “Cap Remap is Coming!”

You’ve Asked … Here Are Our Answers

RevisionsYou’ve probably heard about the big changes we’re planning to put in place next June.

In fact, we know that you know about them because we’ve heard from a lot of you. And the great thing about receiving all that feedback is that it gives us a chance to make our proposal better.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common suggestions we’ve heard and our responses:

It’d really be great if Route 5 still served the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center in the state complex near Lamar and 51st, can you make that happen?

Yes, we can, as a matter of fact. We had proposed to run Route 5 down Burnet and then Medical Parkway before turning to Lamar on 38th Street. Riders wanted to be able to access the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center, and since we have other routes on Medical Parkway, we’ve agreed to change our proposal.

Speaking of Route 5, can you please keep it on Speedway? We’re used to that and like it the way it is.

That one, we can’t recommend. Not only does UT Shuttle Route 656 run on Speedway already, but frequent service would be available within a 5-minute walk on Duval (Route 7) and a 6-minute walk on Guadalupe (MetroRapid 801). The goal of these changes is to create a simple, efficient system that avoids route duplication. We also want to operate buses on major corridors for the most part, rather than neighborhood streets.

Farther north, you guys really need to keep service to the business park east of the Norwood Walmart, where the main post office is. Why are you trying to eliminate that route?

We’ve heard this one a lot, to be honest. That portion of the current Route 323 doesn’t have a whole lot of ridership, and that’s why we proposed to remove service. But enough of you have spoken out in favor of keeping service there that we are proposing to create the new Route 339 Tuscany. It would operate every 60 minutes starting from the Walmart, traveling through the Tuscany Business Park, past the H-E-B at Loyola and Springdale, before ending near the intersection of Tannehill and Webberville in East Austin.

None of these revisions we’re proposing can cause the plan to go over budget, however. And that means we would have to balance the costs of this new service by removing the proposed extension of Route 323 to Far West. Instead, the new proposal would end that route at Northcross Shopping Center, and Far West would be served by Route 19. Continue reading “You’ve Asked … Here Are Our Answers”

Connections 2025: Get Ready for Big Changes

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Capital Metro is super excited to announce that the first significant changes coming out of Connections 2025 are scheduled to go into effect in June 2018. These proposed changes will go before our board for approval on November 15, but only after going through an extensive public input process.

The changes would affect almost every route in our system. In fact, more than half of our current 82 routes will see some level of change, with just 38 remaining the same after June 2018. The great news is that these changes will make for a more tightly integrated bus system that has more frequent service. It’s true that 14 current routes are proposed to be eliminated, but most riders of these routes will see comparable and likely even better service replace their current route.

Also, fixed-route service along low-ridership segments of Dessau, Steck and Mesa, Walsh Tarlton and Convict Hill will not be eliminated in this round of changes. These segments will transition to Mobility Innovation Zone pilot projects in 2019 after further study, public input and board approval.

We know that many of y’all are excited for the improvements that will come with the expanded High-Frequency Route Network. Those routes will provide service at least every 15 minutes seven days a week to 80 percent of our riders. So you may wonder why we don’t do this even sooner than next June. We made this decision for many reasons:

  • We need time to build new bus stops and sidewalks connections.
  • We also need to work with the city to incorporate transit priority treatments to traffic signals, allowing our buses to move more quickly and efficiently through the congestion.
  • Making changes in June minimizes disruptions to student commutes.
  • There are simply fewer vehicles on the roads in June. This will allow us to start the revised service in a “quieter” time and make any necessary tweaks in August, when the city’s business picks back up.

prm-161207-service-change-infographic-update_v22We do have some Connections 2025 changes coming sooner, though. MetroRapid Routes 801 and 803 will increase their frequencies in August, with weekday frequency increasing to every 10 minutes and weekend frequency to every 15 minutes. The service will operate until 2:30 a.m. on weekends … the first step toward 24/7 MetroRapid service!

We know the next question you’ll have is, “Which routes will be proposed to change?” We’re working on finalizing that list now and will produce a brochure to explain all the changes. We should be ready to present our proposal shortly after Labor Day, so look for the brochures on buses and Connections2025.org in mid-September. And, just like we always do with our service change process, we’ll also offer several opportunities for you to provide feedback on the proposed changes, including at public meetings the week of September 25. In addition to those formal meetings, our team will go to bus stops, back-to-school events, festivals and neighborhood meetings. Please check our online calendar in August for dates, times and locations.

For more information on the transit plan, please visit Connections2025.org. Questions may be directed to 512-369-6000 or feedback@connections2025.org.