Capital Metro Partners with Restore a Voice for F1

The checkered flags are ready and tickets to the race are sold out as Formula 1 races into Austin this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, bringing in a record number of visitors to Central Texas.

But, local organization, Restore a Voice says the international stage also brings an elevated threat of human trafficking this week.

To raise awareness, Restore a Voice has partnered with Capital Metro to bring six of these ads to the public:

1 Formula 4 Freedom. Racing to Stop Human Trafficking.
If you’re looking to pay for company we’re already booked you a room.

And 50 of these, viewable inside Capital Metro buses:

All ads will be up through December 31.

Larry Megason, executive director of Restore a Voice told us that he hopes folks seeing the ads will gain awareness of the human trafficking is happening in Austin, even during Formula 1.

Larry Megason, Restore a Voice executive director

“We hope that it will drive people to our website where they can get some information about (human trafficking) that is happening in our city and globally,” Megason said. “There is an issue in our city and we want people to know about it.”

As listed on the ads, the U.S. National Human Trafficking hotline is available at 888.373.7888

Weekend Rail Service, *every* weekend, beginning March 23

Good news! This evening, the Austin City Council approved an Interlocal Agreement (ILA) with us to fund additional MetroRail service on Fridays and Saturdays, not just for special events like Pecan Street Festival, but *every* Friday and Saturday, beginning March 23. Trains will run hourly on Friday evenings from 7 p.m. until midnight, and on Saturdays, every 35 minutes from 4 p.m. until midnight.

“One of the most common requests we hear from the community at Capital Metro is to run MetroRail on evenings and weekends,” said Capital Metro President and CEO Linda S. Watson. “This agreement with the city allows us to deliver what the community has asked. MetroRail is a tremendous community asset, and by providing evening weekend service, a greater number of people will be able to use the system.”

Capital Metro had already budgeted to provide special event rail service during SXSW. You can ride MetroRail late on Friday, March 9 and 16, until midnight, and on Saturday, March 10 and 17, from 10:30 a.m. until midnight. Then the following weekend, Friday, March 23, *regular* weekend service supported by the city of Austin through the ILA will begin. Exciting!

Austin City Councilmember and Capital Metro Board Chair Mike Martinez said, “This ILA is a great win for the city and Capital Metro, but more importantly, Austin, Texas. As Capital Metro has added service we’ve seen increased ridership due to more transit options, and this agreement continues that momentum. People who work and visit downtown and along the Red Line route will be able to take commuter rail and enjoy even more of what Austin has to offer during the weekends.”

Under the multi-year agreement, the city of Austin will contribute a not to exceed amount of approximately $5.7 million over 34 months to assist with service within the city of Austin. Capital Metro will be responsible for costs associated with rail service outside the city limits. The city’s financial commitment to weekend rail service comes as a result of an existing ILA with Capital Metro in which the transit agency directs a quarter cent of its one-cent sales tax collection to the city for transportation projects in our community. The city has determined that funding a portion of this new rail service meets the criteria.

MetroRail ridership has nearly tripled since service began and is currently averaging 35,000 trips per month with standing-room only during morning and afternoon rush hours. The service also boasts a 99 percent on-time performance record. 

I am imagining all sorts of fun excursions I might like to do once the extended hours begin. What are your plans?


ACC Green Pass is making a difference

Today, Austin Community College posted the results of their annual transportation survey. The text of the article is pasted below. The key findings show that the Green Pass program is at least one factor in an uptick in the use of public transportation to get to ACC. This is great news, and we have really enjoyed working with ACC to make transit available to students, faculty and staff.

Latest Transportation Survey Results Now Available

Results from the 2010 ACC Transportation Survey are now available. Late last year, the college’s Office of Environmental Stewardship invited students and employees to complete a survey related to their transportation needs. Topics included mode of transportation to ACC, use of public transportation, and the college’s Green Pass and Green Car initiatives.

The findings include:

  • 73 percent use a personal vehicle to commute to ACC. This is a drop from 79 percent in 2009.
  • 16 percent use public transportation, up from 10 percent in 2009.
  • Among those who use public transportation, more than half said they started because of Green Pass.
  • More than 10 percent own a Green Car.

For complete survey results, click here. Learn about ACC’s commitment to sustainability at