Happy and Safe Juneteenth 2013

BCD 13063A Juneteenth web graphicJuneteenth* weekend is a wonderful time of family and community celebration.

Austin’s annual Juneteenth Parade and Celebration hosted by the Greater East Austin Youth Association (GEAYA) takes place on Saturday, June 15, 2013. The parade route starts at 10am on MLK and Comal, and ends at Rosewood and Chestnut.

MetroRail, Capital Metro’s commuter rail with 9 stops between Downtown Austin and Leander, runs through a portion of Rosewood Park. The parade ends before the railroad crossing, and with a mix of physical barriers and personnel staffing, our security, safety, and community involvement teams work closely with the City of Austin, Austin Police Department and others to ensure celebration participants have safe passage as they travel to/from the parade route to festivities at Doris Miller and Rosewood Park.

Continue reading “Happy and Safe Juneteenth 2013”

Introducing the Haul Pass: New Fare Card for Students

Haul Pass logo

The countdown has begun. School’s almost out. Parent and teens, it’s time to get ready for summer.

Whether it’s time for volunteering, working summer jobs,  internships, taking summer courses; or it’s time for play–attending summer camp, participating in recreational sports or arts activities; or it’s time to chill–with a dip in the pool, relaxing with a good book, grabbing a bite to eat and hanging out with friends and family–Capital Metro can help get you to the places you want and need to go.

Let us introduce you to the Haul Pass, our new summer fare card for students 18 and under.

Front of Hall Pass fare card

Haul Pass Features:

  • UNLIMITED Bus & Rail rides
  • 1 pass lasts three summer months
  • Go Local discounts
  • Valid June 1 – August 31
  • A great value at $45 (for a $96 fare card)
Limited quantity sold for a limited time only, so get them while they last!
The Haul Pass is available online at www.capmetro.org/haulpass or at the Transit Store, 323 Congress Avenue.

Happy Girl Scout Day – March 12

Girl Scout Day celebrates the day the first Girl Scout group was created on March 12, 1912, when Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia for a local meeting. Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has a membership of over 3.2 million girls and adults.

We are especially proud of our local scouts’ role in history. Did you know the Girl Scouts of Central Texas and Capital Metro created the Girl Scouts first-ever Rail Safety Patch Program?

ImageTake a lead from the Girl Scouts and educate yourself about how to be safe around railroad tracks. Check out:

Capital Metro conducts Operation Lifesaver (OL) presentations FREE OF CHARGE to schools, community and educational organizations in the Central Texas region. To schedule a presentation, please contact Mr Celso Baez at 512-389-7559.

Have a safe and happy Girl Scout Day and Women’s History Month.

SXSW Transit Tips

SXSW is in full swing. Capital Metro has added service on several bus routes and MetroRail, too, to help people get around. Here’s what you need to know:

First, bookmark http://www.capmetro.org/sxsw2013.  Maps, detours, schedules, etc.–it’s all there.

If you like printed-out stuff, here’s a handy downtown transit map showing detours through downtown and the special rail schedules.

Detours

Lots of streets are closed. Take a look at the city’s handy interactive map showing street closures. Most  of Capital Metro’s local bus service is detouring through downtown. Most routes will be detoured off of Congress Ave and available at 8 key stops on Guadalupe and Lavaca. Check out this map:
sxsw-superstops

Because many bus routes are detoured away from Congress Ave., about 50 bus stops are closed. Look for the bright pink T-shirts covering the bus stop poles. There are signs at each closed bus stop, too, that will tell you where the nearest open bus stop is for your route.

The eight “super” stops on Lavaca/Guadalupe are marked with a bright green flag that says “Open Stop.”

Getting Schedule Info on the Go

Hey check it out, every bus stop has a unique stop ID. With a cell phone and this ID number, you can get specific next scheduled bus info for that stop.

MetroRail Schedules

MetroRail has expanded hours today and next Saturday, 10 a.m. through midnight. During the week next week, MetroRail daytime frequency will nearly double. Expect a train every 34 minutes, all day.

Full Trains? Full Buses?

As we move into the music portion of SXSW, trains and buses will likely be full. Have a backup plan if you encounter a full bus or train. Signs on each train station will point you to nearby bus service.

Riding with a bike? When trains are full, bikes are limited to 4 per compartment (8 total per train). All Capital Metro buses have a bike rack that holds 2 bikes each.

Late Night Riding

If you’re staying out past midnight, our late night bus service may be just the ticket. Six nights a week, catch a Night Owl to/from 6th and Congress and neighborhoods throughout town, from midnight through 3 a.m. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, you can also ride one of three E-bus routes, which begin service at 8:30 p.m. and run until about 3 a.m. Get late night travel details here.

THERE IS NO LATE NIGHT SERVICE ON SUNDAYS! You’ll need to make other arrangements on Sunday nights, folks.

Here’s a tip for evening riders: use your cell phone to help flag the bus down. A coworker told me about this tip, which works great especially if it’s not well lit at your bus stop, or you are wearing dark colored clothing. Turn your cell phone on and use that to signal the approaching bus.

Additional Resources

City of Austin City Stage 

Austin Chronicle SXSW Travel Tips

Capital Metro Moved More People Than Ever in 2012

DP

We’ve crunched all the numbers for 2012, and here’s the bottom line: Capital Metro knocked it out of the park in 2012.

During 2012, we provided an average 112,000 rides each weekday—enough passengers to completely fill both the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and Disch-Falk Field combined.

The proof that central Texans are choosing Capital Metro as a preferred way to get around lies in our numbers–in 2012 we provided over 34 million boardings–more trips than the population of Texas!

Across the nation, more people are turning to public transit as the preferred transportation choice, but Capital Metro’s growth rate far exceeds the national trend. Here at home, our fixed-route bus ridership is boasting a 22-month growth streak, and MetroRail ridership has tripled in two years.

See the growth in our bus ridership for yourself–2011 compared to 2012 below:

PR2


2012 was a big year for MetroRail too! We’ve got more people riding the rails every single day with an average 2,200 boardings each weekend.

In 2012, MetroRail hit a milestone of its one millionth passenger trip, and ridership increased nearly 50 percent in 2012 over 2011.

Rail’s popular! See the ridership spike:

PR1

Capital Metro made progress in 2012 by analyzing service and making changes towards creating a more efficient system.

Going into 2013, we’re excited to keep  driving progress by working hard at planning for the region’s future with high-capacity transit solutions, like MetroRapid, that will move more people at less cost and with less impact to the environment.

We are also focused on the regional planning effort, Project Connect, that has developed a high-capacity transit vision to keep all of us in Central Texas moving and connected.

How are we driving progress? Check out this super sweet video that breaks it down:

Ride with us to Harlem

Ride Capital Metro over to Harlem River Drive

…during Jazz at St James with headliner Bobbi Humphrey.


The 18th Annual Jazz Concert Series features the First Lady of Flute Bobbi Humphrey, John Mills Times Ten, James Polk Sextet Centerpiece, David Pulkingham, and Hope Morgan.

Schedule:

Friday, Nov. 2

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Jazz Social Hour With David Pulkingham

7:00 p.m. Concert
Tickets $25 ($30 at the door) $10 for students with ID
The John Mills Times Ten followed by Bobbi Humphrey Quartet.
Doors open at 6:30.

Note: HT and UT students and alumni are encouraged to ride Capital Metro to Friday night’s reception and concert, with groups departing campus between 5:00-5:15 p.m.

  • UT students catch the #18 at 5:33 p.m. at 21st and Speedway (and ride free with your UT ID)
  • HT students catch the 5:28 p.m. MetroRail train at Plaza Saltillo (5th and Comal) and transfer at MLK Station to the #18 bus headed eastbound (HT students should see Ms. Ora Houston for transportation passes)
  • Please arrive to your stop at least 10 minutes prior to departure.

Saturday, Nov. 3

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
FREE
Workshop and Informance

5 – 7:00 p.m. Dinner
$30 per person
Jazz Banquet With Hope Morgan

7:00 p.m. Concert
Tickets $25 ($30 at the door) $20 for students with ID
James Polk Sextet – Centerpeace Featuring Pamela Hart followed by Bobbi Humphrey Quartet.
Doors open at 6:30.

Sunday, Nov. 4

11:00 a.m.
FREE
Jazz Mass with The Bobbi Humphrey Quartet

All events take place at St James Episcopal Church, 1941 Webberville Rd, Austin TX, which is serviced by bus routes # 6, 18, and 323. Friday and Saturday evening MetroRail riders can easily transfer to the #18 bus at the MLK Jr. Station.

For directions, please use our trip planner, Google Maps, or call the Go-Line 512-474-1200.

For tickets and other information, please visit http://jazzatstjames.org, or download their flier for the event.

Capital Metro Wins National Award

These bus/train ads have been up and down Austin streets for a few months now. They’re all about going downtown and grabbin’ a ride on MetroRail to get you where you need to go. If you’ve noticed them, you’re not alone — they’ve caught the attention of the American Public Transportation Association.

Earlier this month, Capital Metro found out we won the APTA AdWheel Award for this “Go Downtown” campaign we started in March when we began running Friday and Saturday night service! APTA contests are no joke, so this award means a lot to our team and lands us some major props in the industry.

The campaign mission originally was solely intended to encourage and inform riders like you about the new night rail service, but it’s cool too that someone else noticed our efforts because there were a  lot of very creative people who invested many hours into making the “Go Downtown” project shine.

Each year, APTA honors members’ marketing and communications efforts with the AdWheel Awards. Awards are presented in five main media categories: print, electronic, campaigns, social media, and special events. Recipients are honored in a special ceremony at APTA’s Annual Meeting, held each October.

So, thanks APTA for recognizing Capital Metro’s efforts through this award — it means a lot to us, but more importantly, we hope riders like you are continuing to enjoy Friday and Saturday night service and know we appreciate you for riding Capital Metro! Next time you see these cool ads around town, you’ll know they’re actually award-winning.

Twitter Name: Now @CapMetroATX

Tweet, Tweet!

For those of you who follow our Twitter activity (or may want to), you may have noticed our recent change of account names.

In the past, we have communicated to followers using two separate Twitter accounts: CapMetroNews and CapMetroRail. Having two accounts made sense leading up to the opening of MetroRail, but now it’s just sort of confusing. People tweet us with rail-related inquiries at CapMetroNews and with bus issues at CapMetroRail. Plus, having two accounts sometimes contributes to a delay in us responding.

Going into our new fiscal year in October 1, we wanted to use that date as a benchmark for turning over a new leaf in our Communications efforts — including Twitter.

Going into the future, we have changed the name of our CapMetroRail account to @CapMetroATX. This will be our one and only account where we’ll provide bus and rail service updates as well as relevant news and rider tips. Over the next two weeks we’ll phase-out our CapMetroNews account.

We know by following one sole account, you may get more info than before. So, how can you filter the info you get notifications about, if you want?

By using certain apps, you can make settings to only get notified of certain hashtags, versus receiving all our Tweets.

We’ll be operating via these hashtags:

#MetroRailAlert: for specific delay alerts on MetroRail

#MetroBusAlert: for all bus-related service alerts

So, for example, if you began following our rail account and only wish to continue receiving rail-related messages, set-up your account to send only messages including the #MetroRailAlert hashtag.

How to set specific alerts up? This useful YouTube video helps you use TweetDeck for setting-up hashtag notifications:

If you’re not into Tweet Deck, there’s also Boxcar for push notifications as well.

This change may take some getting used to, but it’s for the better — to provide improved communications and customer service. So, jump right it, follow us at www.twitter.com/CapMetroATX.

Tweet you soon!

Austin Mobility: East Fifth St. Transit Oriented Development Underway

Austin Mobility featured an article in their newsletter yesterday, describing the ongoing development in the east 5th area — around our MetroRail Plaza Saltillo Station. Check out the Austin Mobility to learn more about local Transit Oriented Development at: http://ow.ly/ealZv or read on:

E. Fifth St. transit oriented development underway

Projects near Plaza Saltillo are moving forward.

The 256-unit Corazon mixed-use project has begun construction, and will feature 9,400 square feet of retail, along with 6,400 square feet of restaurant space.

That project, the first to break ground at the Plaza Saltillo MetroRail station and transit oriented development east of IH-35, is expected to be completed by 2014.

The project is a step towards realizing the vision for Transit Oriented Development on Fifth Street.

Transit Oriented Development, or TOD, is a rapidly growing trend to create compact and walkable communities with high quality design centered around transit, and offering mobility choices.

The TOD vision was created by working with community members to address issues such as connectivity, open space, and design within the realities of economics.

The TODs have a complimentary regulation and zoning framework to facilitate compact and connected development, which is a key part of the Imagine Austin plan, passed by a unanimous City Council this month.

In addition to the private development, Capital Metro is making progress on about 10 acres it hopes to develop under future private-public relationships.

An environmental assessment of the land is close to being completed.

An upcoming report, by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Environmental Protection Agency, will give planners an understanding of what remediation would need to occur to develop the land.

In addition, Capital Metro expects to begin design and engineering later this year to relocate rail along Fourth Street, which will free up land for mixed-use development.

That $5.4 million track project is funded 80 percent by federal funds, with a 20 percent match from Capital Metro.

Statesman Article says MetroBike is a good thing for Austin

Today the new Capital Metro bike shelters, MetroBike, were featured in a very positive Austin American-Statesman editorial “Capital Metro’s rail service welcomes cyclists.”

Here is an excerpt of the article: “The last thing most Capital Metro rail commuters want to see during morning or evening rush hours is a passenger boarding with a bicycle in tow. A single commuter who brings along a bicycle on the MetroRail takes the space of four people. When it’s standing-room only, as most trains are during peak hours, bicycles have had to yield…Bike shelters by themselves won’t address the Austin area’s growing demand for transportation alternatives. But they help expand options, and that is a good thing.

Capital Metro will be holding the MetroBike Grand Opening this Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, at 9:15 a.m. at the Kramer Station. We’ll be offering tours of the MetroBike shelter, guest speakers, and refreshments. Join us! Visit our MetroBike webpage for more details: http://www.capmetro.org/metrobike/.

To read the full Austin American-Statesman article, visit: http://ow.ly/d9CCS