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?