Test out the new 3-bike racks on select Capital Metro buses

Capital Metro is testing the feasibility and safety of bus bike racks that hold 3 bikes each. Starting today, ten brand new 35’ buses will be traveling on Routes 338 (Westgate) and 325 (Rundberg) equipped with 3-bike racks.  They are the first of 3 route-pairs that will test the 3-bike racks over the next 6 weeks, from September 10 through October 21.  Capital Metro currently uses 2-bike racks on all its 35’ and 40’ buses and is evaluating the use of the 3-bike racks for future new buses, and perhaps retrofitting part of the system.

Capital Metro Board Member and Austin City Councilman Chris Riley advocated for the pilot to explore options for accommodating more cyclists on board transit. We’ll keep you posted how the test goes.

The 3-bike racks will be used on 2 routes for 2 weeks each to get an idea of their impact for bike transport on the buses. These routes are considered to have the most potential benefit from these racks, and focusing on only 2 routes at a time will allow most if not all buses on that route to be consistently equipped with the 3 bike racks.   After the 6 weeks period, the 3-bike racks will stay in the system on less specified routes.

We will be surveying the drivers and asking for comments from cyclist/users as well to gain input through this period.   Check out the new racks and give us a holler at feedback@capmetro.org.

The three bike racks will be deployed on the following routes during these dates:

September 10 through September 23

Route 338 – Lamar/45th

Route 325 — Ohlen

September 24 through October 7

Route 10 – South 1st/Red River

Route 3 – Burnet/Manchaca

October 8 through October 21

Route 30 – Barton Springs

Route 21/22 — Chicon/Exposition

New Buses Rolling Out onto Austin’s Streets This Week

New BusHave you seen them? Maybe you’ve even had the chance to experience that “new car smell” as you step on the bus. If you haven’t, chances are you will very soon.

Starting this week, Capital Metro will be adding three to five NEW buses into service each week until October! That’s right. Each week!

We’re excited to see the fancy, new electric-blue buses driving around Austin and we hope you are too. These buses are more comfortable, sleeker, better for the environment, brand-spankin’ new and are replacing older buses that have reached the end of the road.

In total, 54 New Flyer buses were approved by the Capital Metro board of directors in February.  The new buses are part of a Capital Metro strategy to maintain a state of good repair.

“We’re on the move everyday connecting people, jobs and communities. The new buses entering the fleet will allow Capital Metro to provide better reliability and an improved customer experience,” said Linda S. Watson, Capital Metro president/CEO.

The effort is also one step towards rebranding and differentiating services by color: local service will be the snazzy electric-blue, MetroRapid will be silver and MetroRail will continue red.

To further serve our customer’s needs, and improve service for bicycle transit riders, we will also be installing three position bike racks on ten of the new buses as a pilot project to test usability.

The buses use clean diesel which produces fewer emissions and meets 2010 Environmental Protection Agency Standards. Compared to 2009 buses they are 10 times cleaner and, more impressively, 25 times cleaner than buses from 20 years ago, which is great for the environment.

So, if you come upon one of our new buses, let us know! Tweet us @CapMetroNews or write on our Facebook page. We want to know!

More bike capacity on our buses, coming soon

If you’re a bicyclist who also rides Capital Metro, you likely know the frustration of waiting for your bus to arrive, only to discover that both bike slots were full. Shucks. (Insert your own creative expletive here.)

If you’ve had that experience before, you might be interested in our plans to transition our bus fleet to accommodate three bikes per bus. Our vehicle maintenance director gave a high-level overview of our plan to do just that, today at the operations/planning subcommittee meeting.

Capital Metro has outfitted a couple of our buses with a three-bike rack for testing and demonstration purposes. Check it out on Thursday at One Texas Center.

Basically, by 2015, about half of our bus fleet will be outfitted with the three-bike rack. It is more cost-effective to buy and install the rack as part of the specs for a brand new bus; hence, as we order and replace buses in our fleet, we will order them with the new three-bus rack.

You can test the new rack for yourself, this Thursday, Jan. 20. A bus with the new rack will be parked on the north side of One Texas Center, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Bring you bike and test it out! At 6:30, Capital Metro staff will address the Bicycle Advisory Council about our plans for the three-bike racks, a Rails with Trails project update, and more.