Saying Goodbye to Pickup – 20,000 Rides Smarter

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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

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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”