More People Are Riding CapMetro! 

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Our focus at CapMetro is on the customer. We serve the people of Central Texas and, to do the job right, we’ve got to provide a positive rider experience. 

That was the thinking behind our Cap Remap changes in 2018. We needed to give you a better ride, a more reliable ride for more people to try transitIf you need to get to work, we need to get you there on time. 

You’ve responded by taking us up on our offer of better service to the tune of a 4.5% increase in ridership for the year after Cap Remap. It’s continued with increases in the months since that anniversary too, with last month charting a better than 8% increase over September 2018!

That focus on the customer is also what’s driven a lot of what we’ve done over the past year or two: new bus shelters, better technology that powers our real-time data, more timely and accurate information and messaging to our customers, opening the new Westgate Transit Center … and the list goes on. 

In the coming year, you’ll see even more from us, with new Pickup service zones, more than 100 new bus shelters to provide better shade and protection from the elements and the new CapMetro App with its better experience. 

Thanks for your confidence in us. Thanks for making us a part of your daily experience. And, thank you for riding. 

Reaching Higher: News & Recent Highlights

Reaching Higher

Ridership on the Rise!

One year in, Cap Remap has done what it promised — created a more frequent, more reliable and better connected bus system. It’s improved the customer’s experience by tripling the number of routes that come every 15 minutes, 7 days a week and by increasing bus stop accessibility, with new sidewalks and more bus shelters for previously underserved communities.

Ridership Since Cap Remap:

  • Up 8.9% in July 2019
  • Up 4.5% for the full year
  • Up 11 of 12 months

Austin & Manor Get a Pickup

We brought the on-demand service Pickup back for CapMetro customers in Austin and Manor.

Residents of four Austin neighborhoods got to benefit from Pickup in August 2019:

  • Pickup East ATX
  • Pickup Exposition
  • Pickup Northeast ATX
  • Pickup Walnut Creek

Pickup Manor replaced a low-performing circulator route and was a hit right away, already increasing the route’s daily ridership numbers by 600%!

Electric Bus

A Busy 2019 Brings Great Results

It’s been an incredibly productive time for CapMetro, with a healthy mix of hard
work and big rewards:

  • Approved the purchase of the first four electric buses in Central Texas.
  • Received $2.6 million grant enabling us to increase the size of our electric bus fleet to 10.
  • Began work on a new bus yard for electric buses, with charging stations for 214 vehicles.
  • Broke ground on our new Downtown Station!
  • Added new track and other improvements that will increase MetroRail’s capacity.
  • Partnered with Austin Parks Foundation to increase summer service to Barton Springs.
  • Named 2019 Agency of the Year by the Texas Transit Association!

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And the Hits Just Kept on Coming

There’s so much happening with transportation in Central Texas! Get a load of this:

  • Launched the first bus-only contraflow lane in partnership with the city of Austin.
  • Provided free rides for federal employees during government shutdown.
  • Opened new MetroRapid Stations along both lines, including Broken Spoke & 31st Street.
  • Re-launched MetroBike Shelter program with no annual fee.
  • Built new Operations Control Center, for more efficient and effective bus operations.
  • Received national safety award from American Public Transportation Association.

Project Connect

Project Connect

More Options • Better Transit • Serving More People

Project Connect will build on the foundation of Cap Remap and provide Central Texas a modern system of reliable and efficient public transit.

  • 2 lines of congestion-proof transit to better move people through downtown and connect ABIA to the larger system.
  • Fully electric fleet that provides dramatically lower emissions and modern technology to maintain our high quality of life.
  • More Park & Rides and Express Routes: Plus mobility hubs and neighborhood circulators throughout the region.

MetroRapid

New MetroRapid lines that will serve the entire city, including these corridors:

  • Tech Ridge
  • Cameron/Dessau
  • Burnet
  • Loyola
  • Manor
  • MLK
  • 7th Street
  • Pleasant Valley
  • South Lamar
  • Manchaca

The Community’s Plan

For Project Connect to work, we need your help. Here’s what we’ve been up to in the community:

  • 101 — community meetings held across 20 zip codes
  • 2,288 — visits received to our virtual open houses
  • 595 — comments collected from those visits

In Action

A Long-Term Vision Already in Action

Project Connect is a generational investment that is already improving Central Texas today!

  • Westgate Transit Center opened in June, removing up to 200 cars from the road.
  • In March, Downtown Station began renovations that will increase the frequency and capacity of MetroRail service!
  • A new facility in North Austin will make space for our all-electric bus fleet of the future.

Saying Goodbye to Pickup – 20,000 Rides Smarter

Pickup
A year ago, Capital Metro brought ride hailing to public transportation with our new Pickup service. We partnered with Via to launch the service as an experimental pilot with the goal of exploring an alternative on-demand transportation model.

It’s been a great success, allowing customers to arrange on-demand transit service from their home to a doctor’s appointment, a trip to Capital Plaza, to and from MLK Station or anywhere else within its service zone. It’s taken riders north of 183 to Wal-Mart and Luby’s and served kids going to Reagan High School and the St. John Library Branch. It was so successful that we’ve been able to provide more than 20,000 trips over the past year. And it was all free!

20.000This pilot program was always intended to be limited, though, and so Pickup is ending soon. We’ve been able to learn so much about how new shared riding services can complement public transit in Austin. As our research period has come to an end, Pickup’s last day of service will be Saturday, June 2.

Until then, it’s still available 6 days a week – between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays – in the Mueller and Windsor Park Neighborhoods.

On behalf of the entire Pickup team, we would like to thank you for the support over the past year! Also, know that Pickup’s success has paved the way for expanding Capital Metro’s on-demand service starting in 2019. Stay tuned for more news!

Connections 2025: Routes 383 & 392 Update

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Long-term planning can be tricky, because it requires balancing the needs of multiple constituencies that change and evolve over time. This isn’t the case just in transit of course, but it’s something we run into all the time. The most recent example is our Connections 2025 Transit Plan, which has seen changes to some of the proposals that were included in the approved plan. That’s common with bus network redesigns.

We wanted to share with the community one of these changes, since we’ve heard concerns regarding the potential elimination of service on Route 392 north of Braker in Northeast Austin.

What was the original proposal? The approved Connections 2025 plan proposed combining Routes 383 and 392 into an east-west route operating from Lakeline Mall along Jollyville Rd. and Braker Ln. to Dessau Rd. Buses were proposed to operate every 30 minutes instead of every 35 – 40 minutes. Route 383 would no longer serve the North Lamar Transit Center, and the area north of Braker served by Route 392 would be modified into a Mobility Innovation Zone.

What is a Mobility Innovation Zone? Mobility Innovation Zones are areas where Capital Metro wants to look into mobility options other than a 40-foot bus by using various pilot projects.  That’s because the land use and road network in these parts of town make it very difficult to provide cost-effective service with a big bus. The pilot projects would likely leverage emerging technology and transportation options, whether that’s an on-demand service like Pickup , flex routes, partnerships with TNCs or something else, we’re not sure. Because these technologies and tools are emerging, we’re still exploring how the pilots would function. Staff will be taking the next 12 months to develop the pilot projects with community input before requesting board approval. When approving Connections 2025, the board instructed staff that fixed-route service north of Dessau must be retained until the Mobility Innovation Zone pilot projects have been developed.

How has the proposal been modified? In keeping with the board’s directive to maintain fixed-route service, the proposed Route 383 would travel from Lakeline Station along Jollyville Rd. and Braker Ln. When the bus reaches Dessau, it will travel along Dessau, Shropshire, Thompkins, Yeager and Parmer before ending at the Tech Ridge Park & Ride. This proposed service would operate every 30 minutes and remain in place until a Mobility Innovation Zone pilot project is ready for implementation sometime in 2019.

What’s next?  As with any Connections 2025 proposal, this modification will require public outreach and board approval before it can be implemented. We will seek public comment this fall and ask board of directors to vote on the changes toward the end of the year. Changes would be implemented in June 2018. More information about all the upcoming changes and ways to provide feedback will be available shortly after Labor Day.

Cap Metro Brings Ride-Hailing to Public Transit

Pickup
Photo of Pickup vehicle by Brandon Guidry

Wanna bring the kids to the Thinkery, the St. John Library Branch or Bartholomew Pool? (They’ve got great water slides.) Capital Metro’s got a new service that’ll help you out with that.

This week, we launched a free ride-hailing bus service called Pickup that allows riders to arrange on-demand transit trips within the Mueller, Windsor Park and Coronado Hills neighborhoods or to Capital Plaza using a mobile app. (Not to mention, Wal-Mart, Reagan High School, and a bunch of other great places.) Because this is a pilot program, we’re only operating in a small section of the city for the timebeing. The service zone ranges from the intersection of Manor Rd. and Airport Blvd. to the I-35 access road north of Rutherford Ln.

Continue reading “Cap Metro Brings Ride-Hailing to Public Transit”